Individuals can place what is known as a fraud alert on their credit reports if they are or could be the victim of identity theft. This lets those accessing their credit report (creditors, insurers, employers, etc) about this increased risk of fraud, which allows them to take additional steps to verify that individuals identity before approving them for a loan, insurance or employment.
Types Of Fraud Alerts
There are three types of fraud alerts: initial, extended and active duty. The differences are explained below:
Initial Fraud Alert
- Lasts for a period of 90 days
- An additional free credit report is provided by the three credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion & Experian)
Extended Fraud Alert
- Last a period of seven years
- Creditors must contact individuals at the phone numbers they provided the credit bureaus with to verify their identity
- Two additional free credit reports are provided in the first twelve months. An additional one is provided every year after that
- Removes the individual from prescreened offers (e.g pre-approved credit cards) for a period of five years, unless otherwise requested by the individual
Active Duty Fraud Alert
- Available to those in active military service only
- Lasts a period of twelve months
- Removes the individual from prescreened offers (e.g pre-approved credit cards) for a period of two years, unless otherwise requested by the individual
- No police identity theft report is required
Fraud alerts are shared between the credit bureaus, meaning if one is placed with TransUnion they’ll notify Equifax + Experian and the alert will be added with them as well. All three fraud alerts are completely free of charge.
All three fraud alerts require the individual to provide proof of their identity and a copy of their identity theft police report (the copy of the police report is not required by active members of the military).
Adding A Fraud Alert
- Online: https://www.alerts.equifax.com/AutoFraud_Online/jsp/fraudAlert.jsp, only for initial 90 day alerts and active military alerts
- Phone: 1-800-525-6285
- Mail: Equifax Information Services LLC
P.O. Box 105069
Atlanta, GA 30348-5069
- Fax: 888-826-0597
For those wanting to place an extended fraud alert, they must fill out the following form by clicking here and then either fax it or mail it to the above address.
- Online: http://www.transunion.com/personal-credit/credit-disputes/fraud-alerts.page
- Phone: 1-800-680-7289
- Phone: 1-888-397-3742
A fraud alert can be removed the same way it was added.
Equifax had the easiest and least confusing process when we tested. Experian was by far the worst, constantly trying to upsell with their id theft product. We suggest adding the alert with Equifax and they’ll notify both Experian & TransUnion for you.