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Thank you -- that made me think of something. My identity was stolen some time back and for a while I was going through the process of negating cards people were opening in my name. I thought that was all behind me, but maybe someone's still trying and that's causing the hits. (I locked down my credit later on.)

There's not really a 'maybe' about it. Did you apply for credit (as Joel said - could be things like utilities, cell phones, or xx day same as cash type offers, not just credit cards, car loans or mortgages) near the dates that the inquiries show? If not, then you have a problem, but to understand what problem it is, you will need to figure out a few more things:

Were the credit inquiries from before you 'locked' your credit at the credit bureaus, or after?

If inquiries were from before, then you may not have allowed enough time for the inquiries to show up after 'locking' your credit - inquiries don't always show up immediately. So you will just need to go through the same dispute process as you previously did.

If they were from after - the 'lock' you put on your credit may not be doing what you thought it would do. There are 2 types of 'lock' - a credit freeze, and a fraud alert. A credit freeze requires you to lift the freeze (often at a cost*) if you want to allow a company to access your credit report, like when you apply for new credit, or are having a background check done. If you don't lift the freeze, you probably won't get credit or pass the background check.

If you put a fraud alert on your credit, that's not as strong as a credit freeze - it still allows access to your credit information if the entity asking for the report states that they have taken steps to verify you. It could be as simple as calling a telephone number that was put on the application to verify that you placed the request. But if the fraudster put their telephone number on the application, whoever is verifying it will get the fraudster, not you - so it's not nearly as strong as a credit freeze. Here's an explanation from the FTC https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faq...

What’s the difference between a credit freeze and a fraud alert?

A credit freeze locks down your credit. A fraud alert allows creditors to get a copy of your credit report as long as they take steps to verify your identity. For example, if you provide a telephone number, the business must call you to verify whether you are the person making the credit request. Fraud alerts may be effective at stopping someone from opening new credit accounts in your name, but they may not prevent the misuse of your existing accounts. You still need to monitor all bank, credit card and insurance statements for fraudulent transactions.

Three types of fraud alerts are available:

Initial Fraud Alert. If you're concerned about identity theft, but haven't yet become a victim, this fraud alert will protect your credit from unverified access for at least 90 days. You may want to place a fraud alert on your file if your wallet, Social Security card, or other personal, financial or account information are lost or stolen.

Extended Fraud Alert. For victims of identity theft, an extended fraud alert will protect your credit for seven years.

Active Duty Military Alert. For those in the military who want to protect their credit while deployed, this fraud alert lasts for one year.

To place a fraud alert on your credit reports, contact one of the nationwide credit reporting companies. A fraud alert is free. The company you call must tell the other credit reporting companies; they, in turn, will place an alert on their versions of your report.


So, if you only placed a fraud alert, you need to consider placing a credit freeze instead.

If you're okay with just placing a fraud alert to avoid the costs of the freeze (you should continue to monitor your accounts diligently), you should check to be sure that the 'extended' alert was placed, not the 'initial' alert. And you will need to renew it after 7 years.

AJ

*I do recall seeing an article that, in the wake of the Equifax breach, Congress was considering a law that said credit bureaus weren't going to be allowed to charge for credit freezes, but I can't find it now. And I don't know if the law was actually passed or not.
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