Credit Alert -- Your Key to Credit Management.
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Frequently Asked Questions


Can I receive my credit reports and notifications online?
How do I change the delivery method of my credit reports and notifications?
Why am I not receiving my e-mail notifications?
How do I update my mailing address or e-mail address?
How do I change payment methods?
How secure is the Credit Alert® Web site?
How are credit reporting agencies regulated?
What is your Privacy Policy?
How do I contact Customer Service?
What should I do if I am a victim of identity theft?
What is the Consumer Fraud Resource Center?
All About Credit Reports
All About Credit Scores


Can I receive my credit reports and notifications online?

Yes. All Credit Alert® members registered on this Web site have the choice of delivery via e-mail or regular mail. If you provided your e-mail address during enrollment, you will automatically begin receiving service to your e-mail account. If you have not provided your e-mail address, you will receive your reports and notifications from us by mail.


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How do I change the delivery method of my credit reports and notifications?

You can change your delivery options at any time. Click on “Member login”. Once you have logged on to the member section, you have the option of choosing either mail or e-mail.


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Why am I not receiving my e-mail notifications?

You may not be receiving your e-mail notifications for one of the following reasons:

  • Invalid E-mail Address: you may have entered your e-mail address incorrectly or may have an old e-mail address on file. Please go to the Account Information menu item above to make sure your e-mail address is listed correctly.
  • Delivery Options: you will only receive e-mail notifications if you have selected online delivery for receipt of your information. Please check your delivery option settings by accessing the Account Information menu item above.
  • Spam Filters: some SPAM filters may prevent you from receiving service notifications. Please check the settings for any spam filters you have to ensure that you can receive e-mail notifications.


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How do I update my mailing address or e-mail address?

Contact our Credit Education Specialists directly at 1-800-455-7435 to change your mailing address. You can change your e-mail address by accessing the Account Information menu item on this site.


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How do I change payment methods?

To change your method of payment for your Credit Alert® membership, please contact us at 1-800-455-7435.


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How secure is the Credit Alert® Web site?

Very. This Web site uses the most advanced encryption technology available: 128-bit encrypted Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) keeps your personal information, including credit card number, secure from unauthorized access. Netscape 4.0 and higher, Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher, and most frame-enabled browsers support SSL.

When you begin a transaction, the rest of your visit will take place on our secure server. You will see a small key or padlock in the bottom right corner of your browser if you are using Netscape or Microsoft browsers, indicating that your transaction is secure.

To further ensure that our efforts in implementing our security policy are valid, we engaged TruSecure Corporation, an internationally recognized security firm, to conduct a security audit known as a Web Certification.

Credit Alert® complies with the requirements of the federal and provincial privacy and credit reporting regulations, and is in compliance with the processing, privacy and security requirements of the national credit reporting agencies (Equifax and TransUnion).


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How are credit reporting agencies regulated?

Federal and provincial privacy and credit reporting regulations grant consumers important rights regarding credit files and related matters, although these regulations vary by province. As well, information provided by credit reporting agencies also varies by agency. Generally speaking, by law you have the right to:

  • Know what your credit file contains
  • Be told by a credit reporting agency the nature, substance, and sources of the information
  • Have information deleted that cannot be verified
  • Receive a free copy of your credit file by mail, if you request in writing and include acceptable photocopied identification
  • Have derogatory, credit-related information deleted after seven years (may vary by province and credit reporting agency)
  • Review your credit file in person
  • Know who has received your credit file in the past year
  • Take someone (lawyer, friend, relative, etc.) with you to review your file
  • Include a brief written statement as a part of your credit file
  • Have disputed information investigated at your request
  • Know the name and address of the credit reporting agency responsible for preparing a credit file used to make a decision regarding your credit, insurance or employment

The Personal Information and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) introduced by the federal government in January 2001 sets out the conditions under which organizations may collect, use or disclose personal information, and gives individuals rights of access to and protection of personal information held about them by an organization.

Provincial privacy and credit reporting regulations exist in almost all provinces in Canada today. By 2004, the provinces must adopt or amend privacy protection in the private sector so that it is “substantially similar” to PIPEDA.


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What is Your Privacy Policy?

Please refer to our online Privacy Policy on our website.


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How do I contact Customer Service?

You can e-mail us any time at customerservice@capitalone.creditalert.ca. Or call us toll free at 1-800-455-7435, Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. and Saturdays 9:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m., Eastern.

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What should I do if I am a victim of identity theft?

If you are a Credit Alert member, call us immediately at 1-800-455-7435.

Report the crime to the police immediately. Get a copy of your police report or case number. Credit card companies, your bank, and the insurance company may ask you to reference the report to verify the crime.

Immediately contact your credit/debit card issuers. Get replacement cards with new account numbers and ask that the old account be processed as "account closed at consumer’s request" for credit record purposes. You should also follow up this telephone conversation with a letter to the credit/debit card company that summarizes your request in writing.

Call the fraud units of the two national credit reporting agencies and ask that your accounts be flagged for identity fraud.

Equifax Canada Inc. – Fraud Services
Box 190 Jean Talon Station
Montreal, Quebec H1S2Z2
Phone: 800-465-7166
Fax: 514-355-8502

Trans Union of Canada Inc.,
Consumer Relations Center
P.O. Box 338 LCD 1
Hamilton, ON L8L 7W2
Phone: 1-866-525-0262

Keep a log of all conversations with authorities and financial entities. And follow-up! Make sure that all creditors or credit bureaus have received what they need from you.

Contact Phonebusters National Call Centre. Phonebusters is the central assistance center set up by the Ontario Provincial Police to assist victims of fraud and identity theft. They also play a vital role in the collection and dissemination of victim evidence, documentation, statistics and tape recordings to outside investigations.

Phonebusters
Phone: 888-495-8501
Fax: 705-494-4008
Toll-Free Fax: 888-654-9426
Email: info@phonebusters.com

Review your reports regularly and make sure all changes you requested have been effected.

By all means, give us a call at 1-800-455-7435 and our trained Fraud Specialists will help you out.


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What is the Consumer Fraud Resource Center?

Credit Alert's Consumer Fraud Resource Center is a valuable resource that guides you through the process of restoring your true credit standing should you become a victim of identity theft. Trained Fraud Specialists qualify you as an identity theft victim, provide information about how to "flag" your accounts with the two national credit reporting agencies (Equifax and TransUnion), help you fill out police reports, and provide you with a Fraud First Aid Kit.


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All About Credit Reports


What is a credit bureau?
How do the credit bureaus obtain information?
Do all credit bureaus have the same information on file?
Who can look at my credit report?
How long does information stay on my credit report?
At what age do credit-reporting agencies start recording a person’s credit history?
Why should I check my credit report?
How often should I check my credit profile?
How do I dispute inaccurate information?
What is a Public Record?
What are Collection Items?
What are inquiries?
How long does it take for a closed account to be removed from my credit file?

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What is a credit bureau?

Credit bureaus or credit reporting agencies are basically clearinghouses for information about consumers’ credit. When you apply for credit, they provide this information to qualified requestors. There are two main credit bureaus in Canada: Equifax Canada Inc. and Trans Union of Canada Inc.


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How do the credit bureaus obtain information?

Credit bureaus collect information from banks, credit unions, finance companies, utility companies, and retailers about your credit, which they store in a computer database.


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Do all credit bureaus have the same information on file?

No, because the amount of time that data stays on the file differs from one credit reporting agency to another and lenders send information to some and not others.


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Who can look at my credit report?

Federal and provincial laws are very specific as to who can review your credit file and for what purpose. An individual or company may only obtain a copy of your credit file with your consent or after having told you that they will be reviewing your file. A company must have a legitimate business reason and a permissible purpose, as stated in government regulations, to obtain your credit file. A credit reporting agency may only provide a copy of your file when the request relates to the extension of credit, collection of debt, housing rental, an application for employment or for insurance purposes.


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How long does information stay on my credit report?

This may vary depending on credit reporting agency and province but generally public records and collection items stay on your report for seven years. Positive information remains indefinitely, although bureaus may remove it earlier.


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At what age do credit-reporting agencies start recording a person’s credit history?

Credit Reporting agencies will only accept information on individuals 16 years and older.


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Why should I check my credit report?

Just as you have medical and dental check-ups periodically, so should you check your credit report. Knowing what’s on your credit report arms you with the information you need – your credit standing – when trying to secure favorable rates for a mortgage or other loan. Also, if you regularly check your credit report, you can guard against identity theft, the fastest-growing crime in the country.


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How often should I check my credit profile?

With the explosive growth of identity theft, experts recommend checking your credit report at least twice a year (every few months if you have been a victim of identity theft). That way, when there’s a change you don’t recognize, you can take steps to halt what could be illegal pilfering of your personal information.


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How do I dispute inaccurate information?

Immediately contact the credit bureau that reported the inaccurate information. Each bureau has specific information they require to begin an investigation on an item in dispute. The dispute process can take up to 30 days or more.


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What is a Public Record?

Public records include information on tax liens, lawsuits, bankruptcies and judgments that relate to the consumer’s debt obligations. Most public record items are listed for seven years including successfully completed bankruptcies. A second bankruptcy can remain on your file indefinitely. Actual time on varies by province.


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What are Collection Items?

Collection items are accounts sent to a collection agency, which are listed in your credit report for seven years from the date the account was 180 days delinquent with the original creditor.


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What are inquiries?

Companies that have requested your credit file within the past three years.


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How long does it take for a closed account to be removed from my credit file?

The file will be updated in 30 and 60 days, but generally negative information stays on for seven years from date of the last activity. Actual time on varies by province.


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All About Credit Scores


What is a credit score?
What if I do not receive a credit score?
What is the credit score range?
How does my credit score affect me?
How often does my credit score change?
Do late payments affect my credit score?
Do inquiries affect my credit score?
Does co-signing a loan affect my credit score?

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What is a credit score?

A credit score, calculated from variables in your credit report and other non-credit factors determined by the lending institution, is a rating tool used by lenders to gauge an individual’s creditworthiness.


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What if I do not receive a credit score?

A credit score can’t be generated if there’s no information in a credit report, so individuals with little or no credit history will generally not have a score.

To remedy this situation, consider applying for retail, gas or secured credit card to establish credit. Then keep your debt low and pay your bills on time to establish a positive credit history.


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What is the credit score range?

Credit scores generally range from 300 to 900 – a higher number represents a stronger financial position.


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How does my credit score affect me?

Credit scores, calculated from such information in your credit file as total debt, types of accounts, number of late payments, age of accounts, and number of inquiries, give lenders a subjective rating of your creditworthiness. Lenders then consider this rating when deciding whether or not to extend you credit. It’s in your best interest, therefore, to keep your credit as robust as possible so you can secure favorable rates and terms. If your credit score is weak, you can often strengthen it by minimizing outstanding debt, avoiding overextension, and limiting new credit applications.


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How often does my credit score change?

Your credit score fluctuates as often as information in your credit file changes.


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Do late payments affect my credit score?

Yes, late payments negatively affect your score – paying your bills on time is the single most important contributor to a good credit score.


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Do inquiries affect my credit score?

It depends on the type of inquiry. Inquires for marketing purposes do not affect your score. These include consumer requests for a credit report, lenders using credit information to review an account, or a potential employer looking over someone’s credit. Inquiries initiated by the consumer, such as mortgage, auto loan and credit card applications, however, do affect your score because studies have shown that too many are a red flag for credit risk. Inquires do not weigh as heavily, however, as past payment history or number of delinquent accounts.


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Does co-signing a loan affect my credit score?

Yes. Any loan or credit card account affects your score.


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