What are they?
An initial 90 day fraud alert indicates to anyone requesting your credit file that you suspect you are a victim of fraud. When you or someone else attempts to open a credit account in your name, increase the credit limit on an existing account, or obtain a new card on an existing account, the lender should takes steps to verify that you have authorized the request. If the creditor cannot verify this, the request should not be satisfied. You may also request one additional free credit file disclosure. To request your initial 90 day fraud alert online.
An extended fraud alert is similar to an initial 90 day alert, except that it lasts for 7 years, and to verify your request a creditor must contact you on the telephone number(s) you provide to Equifax when you requested the extended fraud alert. A valid police report showing that you have been a victim of identity theft is required to place an extended fraud alert. Also, you may request two additional free credit file disclosures, and your name is removed from prescreened offers of credit or insurance for 5 years. Download an extended fraud alert request form. (The request form requires Adobe Reader. Get Adobe Reader)
An active duty alert is available to persons on active military duty and is similar to an initial 90 day alert, except that it lasts 12 months and your name is removed from prescreened offers of credit or insurance for 2 years. Request your active duty alert online.
For any of these alerts, you will receive a confirmation when the alert is added to your credit file.
How it works:
Equifax works with the other two nationwide credit reporting agencies, Experian and TransUnion, so that when you request an alert through Equifax, your request is automatically sent to the other two agencies. Generally, the alert will be placed on your credit file with all three agencies within 48 hours.
To place a Fraud Alert on your Equifax credit file:
- Online: Place an Initial 90 Day Fraud Alert or Active Duty Alert
- Call: 1-800-525-6285 OR
- Write to:
Equifax Information Services LLC
P.O. Box 105069
Atlanta, GA 30348-5069
Credit Protection FAQs
Questions we hear. Answers you need.
PO Box 105069
Atlanta, GA 30348-5069
Please be sure to include your name, social security number, current and previous addresses, date of birth, and telephone number.
- Going through your mail or trash, looking for bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers, and tax information.
- Stealing personal information from your wallet or purse such as identification, credit, or bank cards.
- Completing change-of-address forms to redirect your mail.
- Acquiring personal information you share on unsecured sites on the Internet.
- Buying personal information about you from an inside source -- for example, a store employee that gets your information from a credit application or by "skimming" your credit card information when you make a purchase.
- Getting your personnel records at work.
- By being family members, roommates, or close friends that have access to your personal information.
- Opening new credit card accounts using your name, date of birth, and Social Security number. When they use the credit cards and don't pay the bills, the delinquency is reported on your credit report.
- Establishing phone or cellular service in your name.
- Opening a bank account in your name and writing bad checks on the account.
- Counterfeiting checks or debit cards, and draining your bank account.
- Buying cars by taking out auto loans in your name.
- Calling your credit card issuer and, pretending to be you, changing the address on the account. Bills get sent to the new address, so you don't realize there's a problem until you check your credit report.
- Filing for bankruptcy using your name to avoid paying debts they've incurred under your name.
- Keep a record. Because recovering from identity theft can be a long and complicated process, it's important to keep a record of all of your communications. Send all letters by certified mail and keep copies. If you think your case might lead to a lawsuit, keep track of how much time you spend dealing with the problem.
- Call the police. Report the crime to the police or sheriff's department that has jurisdiction in your case and request a police report. Though the authorities are often unable to assist you, a police report may be necessary to help convince creditors that someone else has opened an account in your name.
- Contact the Federal Trade Commission. Call the FTC's identity theft hotline at 877-438-4338 and file a complaint. The FTC does not resolve individual consumer problems itself, but your complaint may lead to law enforcement action.
- Check your credit reports. Get your credit reports from all three nationwide credit reporting agencies and check for inquiries that you do not recognize and any new accounts opened in your name. Because new accounts may take up to six months to show up on the report, continue to monitor your credit reports on a regular basis.
- Contact one of the three Nationwide Credit Reporting Agencies to place a fraud alert. Have one of the agencies put a fraud alert on your file, which will aid in preventing new credit accounts from being opened without your express permission. Equifax and the other two credit reporting agencies, Experian and TransUnion, work together so that when you place an alert with one of these agencies, your request is automatically sent to the other two agencies (see information about fraud alerts).
- Place a security freeze on your credit files at each of the three Nationwide Credit Reporting Agencies. You may request a security freeze be placed on your credit files at Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You will have to contact each of them individually in order to place a security freeze on their credit file on you (see information about a security freeze).
- Block or close fraudulent accounts. Contact the appropriate creditors, banks, phone companies, and utility companies and have them close and discontinue reporting the accounts. You'll probably be liable for only $50 of the fraudulent charges, but different issuers have different policies. Most creditors promptly issue replacement cards with new account numbers.
- Mail fraud. If you suspect that someone has changed your address with the post office or used the mail to commit identity theft, notify the US Postal Inspector.
- Fraud using your Social Security number. If your Social Security number has been used to commit identity theft, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which is charged with handling most identity theft complaints at 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338). To order a copy of your Social Security Administration earnings and benefits statement to check whether someone has used your Social Security number to get a job or to avoid paying taxes visit www.socialsecurity.gov/statement/.
- Fraud involving your driver's license number. If your driver's license number has been used to open accounts or verify checks, contact your state's Department of Motor Vehicles.
- Fraud involving your passport. Notify the U.S. State Department's Passport Services Department of the identity theft so that it can intercept anyone ordering a new passport in your name.
- Fraud involving a business scam. If the fraud was perpetrated as part of a business scam, contact the National Fraud Information Center at 800-876-7060.
- Bankruptcy filed using your name. If someone filed for bankruptcy using your name write to the U.S. Trustee in the region where the bankruptcy was filed. A listing of the U.S. Trustee Program's Regions can be found at www.usdoj.gov/ust, or look in the blue pages of your phone book under US Government: Bankruptcy Administration. Your letter should describe the situation and provide proof of your identity.
877/ID-THEFT Equifax fraud division
P.O. Box 740250
Atlanta, GA 30374 www.fraudalerts.equifax.com Experian fraud division
P.O. Box 1017
Allen, TX 75013 Trans Union fraud division
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92634
Office of Consumer Affairs
PO Box 150139
Atlanta, GA 30348
Please include a copy of the death certificate.
- US Government's Web site for identity theft: http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft/
- US Government: Know Fraud Program: http://www.consumer.gov/knowfraud/index.html
- US Government: Identity theft clearinghouse: http://www.consumer.gov/sentinel/idtchart.htm
- FTC consumer complaint form https://rn.ftc.gov/dod/widtpubl$.startup?Z_ORG_CODE=PU03
- US Department of Justice: http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/fraud/idtheft.html
- Social Security Administration/Office of the Inspector General fraud Web site: http://www.ssa.gov/oig/hotline/
- US Secret Service: What to do if you're a victim of identity theft: http://www.treas.gov/usss/index.htm?faq.htm&1