Someone just used my social security number to get an instant $200 payday loan yesterday. I know this because I got an alert from Experian, one of the three credit reporting agencies. I first called Experian to report the fraud and then called the company where the loan request originated.
It took a few hours to get this sorted out, and, annoyingly, I might have to spend more time filing a police report to prove to the company, Advance America, that I didn’t request this loan because they incredibly allowed instant online approval to someone who had my a social security number, but no other valid contact information! So they’re out $200 if they can’t pull back the funds.
Credit alerts are usually part of a paid plan with the reporting bureaus. However, you can place and remove a freeze on your credit at no charge.