What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft is committed when someone steals your personal information — such as your name, Social Security number, and date of birth — typically to hijack your credit and use it to open up new credit accounts, take out loans in your name, or access your bank or retirement accounts. An identity thief can even use your personal information to steal your tax refunds, seek medical services, or commit crimes in your name.

Once an identity thief has access to your personal information, he or she can also:


  • Open new credit card accounts with your name, Social Security number and date of birth. When the thief charges to the credit cards and leaves the bills unpaid, the delinquency will be reported to your credit report and could impact your credit score;
  • Open a bank account in your name and write bad checks on the account;
  • Create counterfeit checks or debit cards and use them to drain your existing bank accounts;
  • File for bankruptcy under your name to avoid paying debts;
  • Set up a phone, wireless, or other utility service in your name.


Lock and Alert Logo

Help control who has access to your Equifax® credit report. It's free.

Equifax is helping put you in control of your Equifax credit report. With Lock & Alert, you can quickly and easily lock and unlock your Equifax credit report with a click or swipe, and we’ll send a confirmation alert.1

  1. Locking your Equifax credit file will prevent access to it by certain third parties. Locking your Equifax credit file will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency. Entities that may still have access to your Equifax credit file include: companies like Equifax Global Consumer Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score, or monitor your credit file; federal, state, and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection purposes; 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.