- If you have received notice that your personal information may have been exposed, you are advised to place a “fraud alert” on your credit file with the three major credit bureaus. This is a free service that will request creditors to verify your identity before opening a new account.
- You may place an Initial 90-day Fraud Alert by calling any one of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. The agency that accepts your request will share your request with the other two credit reporting companies, which will add the alert to your file or request that you provide them additional information. You will receive a confirmation when an alert is added to your file. You may also request a free credit report from each of the three agencies.
- Choose one of the credit bureaus from the contact information below. Experian allows you to file a fraud alert online or by telephone; Equifax and Trans Union require you to call.
*Please note that your initial call to the credit bureau will be to an automated system. With your copy of the credit report, you will receive another phone number that will allow you to discuss anything unusual with a representative.
You can place a fraud alert with Experian online by going to the Experian Credit Fraud Center.
To place a fraud alert with Experian by phone:
- Dial 1-888-397-3742.
- Select option 2 (“all other” requests not related to credit management tool).
- Select option 2 (“if not” wanting to listen to 8 minute recording of CA Civil Code Section 1785.10).
- Select option 3 (“if you believe that your credit information is being used fraudulently”).
- Select option 2 (“to add an alert to your credit file using an automated system”).
- Select option 1 (“add a temporary initial fraud security alert”. There are other options for 7-year extended victim alert and active duty at this point).
- Select option 2 (“to continue to the automated alert system” which then asks for your social security number).
To place a fraud alert with Equifax, you must do so by phone. You cannot place a fraud alert with Equifax online.
To place a fraud alert with Equifax by phone:
- Dial 1-800-525-6285 (this number is specifically for placing a fraud alert).
- Select option 1 (to place a fraud alert).
- Follow instructions.
To place a fraud alert with Trans Union, you must do so by phone. You cannot place a fraud alert with Trans Union online.
To place a fraud alert with Trans Union by phone:
- Dial 1-800-680-7289.
- Enter your zip code.
- DO NOT press 1 or say 1 to listen to the summary.
- Wait for the next option.
- Press 1 or say 1 for Fraud Alert options.
You should also request a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies. When you receive your credit reports, review them carefully. Look especially for these indicators of possible fraudulent activity:
- Unfamiliar accounts, especially ones that have been newly opened.
- Unauthorized charges to existing accounts.
- Addresses that you have not lived at
Facts About Fraud Alerts
Before you add a fraud alert to your credit report, be aware of these effects:
- You may be asked to provide proof of your identification when applying for instant credit. In some cases, the presence of a fraud alert may limit your ability to receive instant credit for in-store purchases that you plan to take possession of immediately.
- Creditors may contact you by phone at a designated number before opening a new account
- A fraud alert should not interfere with the daily use of credit cards or banking or checking accounts.
- The length of time that an alert stays on your record varies for each credit bureau. You can request an extension when the initial period has ended.