What Is a Hawk on a Credit Report?

A hawk alert can damage your credit score.

A hawk alert is a fraud detection tool used by the credit reporting agencies. When a company orders a credit report on someone, a search is done across all the credit reporting databases for fraudulent or incorrect information. When material discrepancies are found, they are printed out as a hawk alert.

Improper Address

Hawk alerts can be generated because the address or telephone number supplied on a credit application belongs to a business or another institution. Since creditors want the applicant's residential address and this is requested on the application, a business address indicates the possibility of fraud and requires investigation.

Incorrect SSN Data

A Social Security number used for a death benefit application is a good indicator of potential fraud. The Social Security Administration does not reuse Social Security numbers after a person's death. The hawk alert can also detect different names, addresses and dates of birth associated with an SSN.

Prior Fraud

All credit reporting agencies record addresses used in cases of potential or proven fraud and discovered as a result of attempts to identity theft victims and other reports received from subscribers. If this data matches data on a recent application, a hawk alert is added to the application.

No Hawk Alert

If no hawk alerts are detected, the application will be noted and marked as clear for all searches performed. This does not mean there is no possibility of fraud, just that there are no indicators of past fraudulent activity.

Incorrect Hawk Alerts

If credit is declined due to information on his credit report, the applicant can request a copy of the credit report free of charge within 60 days of the denial. The denial letter will have instructions on how to get the report, along with telephone, mail and online contact information. Review the report for accuracy and contact the reporting agency if there are errors. Have the agency delete the incorrect information.

Tip

Anyone can get a free credit report from the three reporting agencies (see Reference section). By federal law, the report is available every 12 months. It is a good way to catch identity theft and incorrect information on the reports. Incorrect address information is a frequent error on credit reports.

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