Am I better off placing a fraud alert, requesting a security freeze, or obtaining a credit report lock?
You don’t need to choose a single option. We recommend choosing the ones that best suit your credit activity. See more about the various options below.
- Fraud alert: 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. Fraud alerts encourage 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. This can make it harder for someone to open unauthorized accounts in your name. Fraud alerts are free, and you can contact any of the three nationwide credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) to request a fraud alert. That bureau will send your request to the other two, so you do not have to contact all three. You can place a fraud alert online after creating a myEquifax account, by calling (800) 525-6285, or by mail. Download this form for mailing instructions.
- Security freeze: A security freeze generally prevents access to your credit report to open new credit accounts. Unless you temporarily lift or permanently remove a freeze from your credit report, it can’t be accessed to open new accounts (subject to certain exceptions). Freezes must be placed, lifted or removed separately with each of the three nationwide credit bureaus. Security freezes are free. You can place a security freeze on your Equifax credit report online after creating a myEquifax account, by phone, or by mail. Download this form for mailing instructions.
- Credit report lock: A credit report lock generally has the same impact on your credit report as a security freeze. A credit report lock allows you to lock and unlock your credit report online or by mobile app using identity verification techniques such as usernames and passwords.
Please note that you can have either a security freeze or credit report lock on your Equifax credit report, but not both.
Click here to review who can view your credit report if you have a security freeze or lock.