CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - Jun 18, 2014) - The number of identity fraud victims jumped to 13.1 million in 2013, a recent report from Javelin Strategy & Research finds. That's the second highest number of victims since Javelin began conducting its annual study in 2004. This translates to a new identity fraud victim every two seconds. Today, TransUnion, a leader in identity theft protection and credit management, announces the launch of the first-ever instant alert feature, which notifies members as soon as someone applies for credit in their name, helping them to stop fraud faster.
"Identity thieves are smarter and faster at stealing consumers' identity and committing fraud and TransUnion launched the instant alerts to help consumers stay ahead of these criminals," said Julie Springer, vice president of TransUnion. "TransUnion now sends you an email right when we find out someone's applied for credit in your name, because when protecting your ID, every second matters."
When someone applies for credit, the request may be sent to TransUnion from the lender to receive information on the individual to help them determine whether or not they should extend the line of credit to the consumer and at what interest rate. As soon as the request is received by TransUnion, an instant alert is deployed via email to the member -- alerting them to the credit application. If the member is not the one applying for credit, he or she can then report the possible fraud to both the lender and to TransUnion. TransUnion's Fraud Victims' Assistance Department is available to then help them minimize the damage.
While TransUnion will alert members when someone has applied for credit in his or her name or if there is another critical change to their credit report, TransUnion also recommends consumers take the follow precautions to minimize their risk of becoming a victim of identity theft or fraud:
Only carry essential documents with you: Not carrying extra credit cards, your Social Security card, birth certificate or passport with you outside the house can help you prevent identity theft.
Be careful when giving out personal information over the phone: Identity thieves may call, posing as banks or government agencies. To prevent identity theft, do not give out personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call.
Your trash is their treasure: To prevent identity theft, shred your receipts, credit card offers, bank statements, returned checks and any other sensitive information before throwing it away.
Make sure others are keeping you safe: Ensure that your employer, landlord and anyone else with access to your personal data keeps your records safe.
Stay on top of your credit: Make sure your credit reports are accurate and that you sign up for a credit monitoring service, which can alert you by email to changes in your credit report -- a helpful way to prevent identity theft.
Follow your credit card billing cycles closely: Identity thieves can start by changing your billing address. Making sure you receive your credit card bill every month is an easy way to prevent identity theft.
Keep a list of account numbers, expiration dates and telephone numbers filed away: If your wallet is stolen, being able to quickly alert your creditors is essential to prevent identity theft.
Create passwords or PIN numbers out of a random mix of letters and numbers: Doing so makes it harder for identity thieves to discover these codes, and makes it easier for you to prevent identity theft.
To receive instant alerts when an application for credit has been made in your name, visit www.TransUnion.com.
TransUnion Interactive, Inc. is a consumer subsidiary of TransUnion. As a global leader in credit and information management, TransUnion creates advantages for millions of people around the world by gathering, analyzing and delivering information. For businesses, TransUnion helps improve efficiency, manage risk, reduce costs and increase revenue by delivering comprehensive data and advanced analytics and decisioning. For consumers, TransUnion provides the tools, resources and education to help manage their credit health and achieve their financial goals. Through these and other efforts, TransUnion is working to build stronger economies worldwide. Founded in 1968 and headquartered in Chicago, TransUnion employs associates in more than 33 countries on five continents. www.transunion.com. Follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TransUnion.