When does placing an alert make sense for you?
  • When you want to inform lenders that you have been, or may become a victim of fraud.
  • When you want to encourage lenders and creditors to take steps to verify that it’s you requesting credit before granting it.

 


 

How it works
Which type of alert might make sense for you?
  • Initial Fraud Alert
    Use this when:

    You believe you are, or may become the victim of fraud.  An initial fraud alert is free and lasts for one year.

    Get Started
  • Extended Fraud Alert
    Use this when:

    You've been a victim of ID theft, and you've completed an FTC Identity Theft Report or police report. An extended fraud alert is free, lasts for seven years, and removes you from credit card and insurance offers for five years.

    Get Started
  • Active Duty Alert
    Use this when:

    You’re on active military duty. An active duty alert is free, lasts for one year, and removes you from credit card and insurance offers for two years.

    Get Started

What you need to know

You must be 18 to create a myEquifax™ account.

Visit Customer Care to learn how to submit requests by phone or mail.

Please note: In order to place a fraud alert, you will need to have an active Equifax credit report on file.

A fraud alert is a notice on your credit report that alerts creditors you are or may be a victim of fraud, including identity theft. A fraud alert can make it harder for someone to open unauthorized accounts in your name. It encourages or requires lenders and creditors to take extra steps to verify your identity, such as contacting you by phone, before opening a new credit account in your name or making changes to existing accounts.

There are two types of fraud alerts you can place on your credit report, and both are free.

  • Initial fraud alert - If you believe you are or may become a victim of fraud or identity theft, you may place an initial fraud alert on your credit report. An initial fraud alert remains on your credit report for one year, unless you choose to remove it sooner, and can be renewed for additional one-year periods. An initial fraud alert also allows you to request an additional free copy of your credit reports from the three nationwide credit bureaus during the 12-month period following the placement of the initial fraud alert.
  • Extended fraud alert - If you have a police report showing you’re a victim of identity theft, you may place an extended fraud alert on your credit report. An extended fraud alert remains on your credit report for seven years unless you choose to remove it sooner. An extended fraud alert also allows you to request two free credit reports from the three nationwide credit bureaus during the 12-month period following the placement of the extended fraud alert, and your name is removed from pre-screened credit card and insurance offers for 5 years.


You can contact any of the three nationwide credit bureaus to request a fraud alert. Once you have placed a fraud alert on your credit report with one of the bureaus, that bureau will send a request to the other two bureaus to do the same, so you do not have to contact all three.

To place an initial one-year fraud alert, create or sign in to a myEquifax account, or call our automated line at 800-525-6285. You can also place an initial fraud alert by mail by downloading and following the instructions on the Alert Request form.

To place an extended seven-year fraud alert, download and follow the instructions on the Extended Fraud Alert Request form. You’ll need to include additional documentation showing you’re a victim of identity theft.

Visit our FAQs to learn more about Security Freezes & Fraud Alerts.

An active duty alert is available for service members on active military duty who want to help minimize their risk of fraud or identity theft while deployed. An active duty alert is similar to initial fraud alerts; they can make it harder for someone to open unauthorized accounts in your name. It encourages lenders and creditors to take extra steps to verify your identity, such as contacting you by phone, before taking certain actions, such as opening a new credit account in your name or increasing your credit limit.

An active duty alert is free and lasts for one year, and your name is removed from pre-screened credit card and insurance offers for two years. You can contact any of the three nationwide credit bureaus to request an active duty alert. Once you have placed an active duty alert on your credit report with one of the bureaus, that bureau will send a request to the other two bureaus to do the same, so you do not have to contact all three.

To place an active duty alert, create or sign in to a myEquifax account, or call our automated line at 800-525-6285. You can also place an active duty alert by mail by downloading and following the instructions on the Alert Request form.

A fraud alert, a credit report lock, and a security freeze are all steps you can take to help better protect your personal information, but they aren’t the same thing.

A fraud alert is a notice that is placed on your credit report that alerts credit card companies and others who may extend you credit that you may have been a victim of fraud, including identity theft. Think of it as a “red flag” that encourages companies to take steps to verify your identity before extending credit in your name.

You may contact any of the three nationwide credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to request a fraud alert. Once you place an alert with one of the bureaus, that bureau will send your request to the other two bureaus.

Fraud alerts are free, and there are two types:

  • An initial fraud alert can be placed if you believe you are or may become a victim of fraud or identity theft. It lasts for one year and can be renewed. When you or someone else attempts to open an account in your name or make changes on an existing account, such as increasing the credit limit, the company must take reasonable steps to confirm you are who you say you are, such as contacting you by phone at a number you provide, before completing the request.
  • An extended fraud alert can be placed if you are a victim of fraud or identity theft. It requires a copy of a valid police or law enforcement agency report, or a Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Report, and lasts for 7 years. With an extended fraud alert, a lender or creditor is required to verify your identity in person or by phone at a number you provide before opening new accounts or making changes to existing accounts.


If you are on active military duty and want to help minimize your risk of fraud or identity theft while you are deployed, an active duty alert is available to you. The active duty alert is similar to an initial fraud alert: it also lasts a year, and companies must take reasonable steps to verify your identity before opening new accounts in your name or modifying existing ones.

A credit report lock and a security freeze both generally prevent access to your Equifax credit report to open new credit accounts. Unless you temporarily lift or permanently remove a freeze, or unlock your credit report, it can’t be accessed to open new accounts (subject to certain exceptions). Because these functions have the same impact, you cannot add both a freeze and a lock to your Equifax credit report. See more about exceptions below.

  • Security freezes (also known as credit freezes) are federally regulated and allow you to place, temporarily lift, or permanently remove a freeze. At Equifax, you can manage your freeze online with your username and password after creating a myEquifax account. You can also manage your freeze by phone: Call us at (888) 298-0045. You'll be required to give certain information to verify your identity. You'll also have the option to receive a one-time PIN by text message or answer questions based on information in your Equifax credit report for identity verification. Placing, lifting and removing a security freeze is free.
  • Credit report locks are mobile app-enabled and allow you to lock and unlock your Equifax credit report using identity verification techniques such as usernames and passwords.


Placing a security freeze on your Equifax credit report will prevent access to it by certain third parties. Freezing your Equifax credit report will not prevent access to your credit report at any other credit reporting agency.

Exceptions: Locking or freezing your Equifax credit report will prevent access to it by certain third parties. Locking or freezing your Equifax credit report will not prevent access to your credit report at any other credit bureau. Entities that may still have access to your Equifax credit report include:

  • Companies like Equifax Global Consumer Solutions, which provide you with access to your credit score or report, or monitor your credit report as part of a subscription or similar service;
  • Companies that provide you with a copy of your credit score or report, upon your request;
  • Federal, state, and local government agencies and courts in certain circumstances;
  • Companies using the information in connection with the underwriting of insurance, or for employment, tenant or background screening purposes;
  • Companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe;
  • Companies that authenticate a consumer’s identity for purposes other than granting credit, or for investigating or preventing actual or potential fraud; and
  • Companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com.


Equifax maintains consumers’ credit reports and provides information to certain customers, including credit card companies and lenders, so that they may offer pre-approved offers to consumers as permitted by law. Consumers that prefer not to receive such offers should visit www.optoutprescreen.com, or call toll free at 1-888-5-OPT OUT (or 1-888-567-8688). Consumers may also send an opt-out request in writing to Equifax Information Services LLC, P.O. Box 740123, Atlanta, GA 30374-0123. Consumers should include their complete name, full address, Social Security number, and signature. Equifax will remove the consumer’s name from its pre-approved offer database and share the request with the other two nationwide consumer reporting agencies.

More about fraud alerts