Fraud Alert and Incorrect Experian Phone Number

By | November 19, 2006

I just received a letter from Avaya informing of the theft of an employee’s laptop that may contain my personally identifiable information (PII). The letter suggests that I contact one of Equifax, Experian or TransUnionCorp to have a fraud alert placed on my credit file. If you contact one, they will allegedly automatically contact the other two.

While I’m glad to have received the notification so I can take action before something bad happens, I wish Ross Senholzi, Director, Finance, (or more likely, one of the people in his group) had spent a few more minutes proofreading the letter. One glaring error in the letter is the URL for filing a complaint with the FTC. Somehow I don’t think that www.consumer.gov/idtehft (sic) is the correct URL. Unless, of course, the people managing the website at the FTC can’t spell “theft” either. At least this is an obvious mistake that virtually everyone will correct if they type it into a browser.

A far worse error is an incorrect number for Experian. The correct number is 888-397-3742, not 800-397-3742. In Avaya’s defense, lots of other people get this wrong, too. Search on “800-397-3742” and you will find a lot of sites listing this as the Experian fraud alert line. But they could have at least tried calling the number once.

If you call 800-397-3742, you get an amazingly bad DTMF app. After a welcome message “Hello and thank you for calling” that never mentions Experian, you are presented with a one choice menu, “To hear how we can easily help repair your credit by removing negative or erroneous items from your credit report, please press 1 now”. If you don’t do anything, the prompt repeats. A few seconds later, the app hangs up on you.

Here’s the rub, though. If you do press 1, you get a sales pitch from the “Consumer Information Bureau” for a paid service to repair your credit record. If you press 0 to try to reach an agent, the app hangs up on you. The owner of this number appears to be some other company that has latched on to the fact that many websites have the wrong phone number for Experian. A reverse lookup on 888-397-3742 returned Experian as the owner of the number. A reverse lookup on 800-397-3742 returned nothing.

This is very, very bad.

10 thoughts on “Fraud Alert and Incorrect Experian Phone Number

  1. Pingback: WombatNation » Mediocre Fraud Alert DTMF/Voice Apps

  2. David

    I have tryed all numbers listed, to no avail, can’t speak to anyone live , i found a phone # in atlanta Ga 1 678 731 1000, the phone system ask for dial by name directory , i put in smith, i got an exension of steve smith x 21191
    l left a message for call back

    Reply
  3. M.K.

    after ordering a credit report through another source I found that I needed to dispute one item being reported by EXPERIAN. I love the way THEY want me to buy yet another report for them to investigate the issue. There is no way to talk to a real person with a dispute issue without a EXPERIAN report. But if you call Trans Union their customer service is outstanding and T.U. will report their findings to Experian. Truns Union…1 866 887 2673

    Reply
  4. M.S.

    Everything was true in what number 4 said except when I called T.U. they would not help me at all they just gave me the same phone number that no one answers and an address. Not a real happy camper!!

    Reply
  5. RB

    actually that 1 800 397 3742 is a real credit repair company. I have used it personally and saw results. It was expensive up front, but i have recommended it to many with no complaints. Just FYI

    Reply
  6. Mandy

    I need help — my mother received a letter today, addressed to my father. It claims to be from Experian, and says that between July 97 and August 98, “1 potentially negative item” was added to his credit report.

    Besides the fact that my father died in 1999, he also never set foot in the house that my mom now owns (and to which the letter was sent) — in fact, he never even lived in the state in which she now lives.

    I don’t know how to find out if the letter is from Experian. It has the correct web address, but the phone number is completely different from any you’ve listed (800 270 6131). I went to the website to order a free credit report for him, but balked when it wanted his social security number. I know that’s normal, but not when I don’t even know the source of the problem!

    Any input?

    Reply
  7. Karen

    Experian has become a real EXPERIENCE!!! Today I recieved an email in regard to Experian’s Free Credit Report…I tried numerous times and numerous telephone numbers all to no avail. All I wanted to do was to verify this email as truely coming from Experian or was it a set up to steal my personal information. I’ll never know! Because you CAN NOT get a real live person on their telephone. Don’t try to use the old “zero will get me a person trick” because their automated system WILL hang up on you. It’s warms my heart, all the reasurrance, just knowing that Experian is READY to SAVE the DAY with all of their fancy, dancy ways of PROTECTING my Credit from FRAUD and/or INDENTITY THEFT and I can’t contact them to alert them to the possibility of a FRAUDULENT EMAIL THAT SENDS YOU TO A WEBSITE THAT HAS A DIFFERENT ADDRESS FROM ALL OF EXPERIAN’S LINKS AND IS ASKING FOR INFOMATION THAT WILL BE USEFUL TO STEAL YOUR IDENTITY!!! PLEASE…BE ON THE ALERT AND BEWARE OF THIS EMAIL!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  8. Irritated Victim of ID Theft

    Mandy,

    It seems that someone is trying to scam your father by pretending to be Experian.

    First of all, I have never known any of the CRA’s (Credit Reporting Agencies) to take the time to inform someone of a potentially negative item; they simply don’t have the manpower or time to do so. (I wouldn’t have 26 fraudulent items on my credit report right now, if they did.)

    Second, the so-called item is already 10 years old; not exactly timely notification, and probably close to the Statute of Limitations for the alleged debt, anyway. It’s very possible that a JDB (Junk Debt Buyer) purchased a very old debt of your father’s (or not) for a penny and is trying to get big bucks out of some unsuspecting soul (or his family members).

    Third, since the letter came to your mother’s house, where your father never resided, it would seem that the company was grasping at straws to locate your father and jumped at the first possible familial connection they found. Experian wouldn’t have had your mother’s address to use, as it wouldn’t have been listed among the addresses of record, reported by creditors.

    Finally, Experian would already know that your father was deceased, so it wouldn’t have been too concerned with his credit rating potentially being affected. (See first paragraph)

    This shady company is probably hoping you’ll call–rather than take the time to obtain a credit report through Experian’s website–so that they can take advantage of your contacting them (having an unsuspecting victim in their grasp, as well as potentially reopening the Statute of Limitations for the debt). A reverse phone look-up reveals nothing about this company’s identity, much less, legitimately links it to Experian. I’d shred the letter and recycle its remains.

    Reply
  9. Klytle

    I found a phone# for Equifax to speak to a live person I called and got somewhere finally.800-846-5729 or 866-322-3162 their fax is 888-664-4535 & 888-729-0083 & 888-826-0549

    Reply

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