Fraud Alerts and Credit Freezes
Protect Your Credit
Having a fraud alert placed on your credit reports means that a lender must contact you to verify your identity and
intentions when you (or someone claiming to be you) seeks credit. An initial fraud alert lasts 90 days and can be
requested with no documentation. An extended fraud alert, which lasts 7 years, requires proof that you are a fraud
victim, in the form of a report from your police or other law enforcement agency.
You only need to contact one of the three credit bureaus, because they share fraud alerts within 48 hours. We have included links to all three credit bureaus below,
though it should be noted that TransUnion does not at the present time accept fraud alert requests online.
Having a credit freeze placed on your credit reports blocks any new lenders or third parties from viewing your credit
report, unless you make arrangements for the freeze to be temporarily lifted. However, companies that you have already dealt with in the past will still have access
to your report. You yourself can still get your free annual credit reports or you can buy access to your credit score.
The following links will take you to the appropriate page for credit freeze information at the three bureaus:
If you prefer independent information from the US government rather than the credit bureaus, check out one of the following resources:
The cost of placing, temporarily lifting, and removing a credit freeze varies by state. Many states make credit freezes free for identity theft victims, while
other consumers pay a fee – typically $10. Some states make them free for senior citizens.
Unlike a fraud alert, the three bureaus do not share credit freeze information. As a result, you must contact all three of them individually.
Each bureau has its own customer service pages where you select your state in order to read the terms, conditions, and fees involved. No documentation or proof of
fraud is required for a credit freeze. A credit freeze is certainly more extreme, yet may be easier to obtain than an extended fraud alert.