Identity theft is a serious threat that can harm your personal and financial well-being. To prevent and detect it, you should check your account statements and free credit reports regularly for any unusual activity.
Order your Credit Report
Under U.S. law, a consumer is entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. To order your free credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call, toll-free, 1-877-322-8228. You may also directly contact the three major credit reporting bureaus, Equifax®, Experian® and TransUnion®, to request a free copy of your credit report.
Place a Fraud Alert on your Credit File
Consumers have the right to place an initial or extended “fraud alert” on a credit file at no cost. An initial fraud alert is a one-year alert that is placed on a consumer’s credit file. Upon seeing a fraud alert display on a consumer’s credit file, a business is required to take steps to verify the consumer’s identity before extending new credit.
If you are a victim of identity theft, you are entitled to an extended fraud alert, which is a fraud alert lasting seven years. Should you wish to place a fraud alert, please contact any one of the three major credit reporting bureaus: Equifax®, Experian® and TransUnion®.
Place a Credit Freeze on your Credit Report
As an alternative to a fraud alert, consumers have the right to place a “credit freeze” on a credit report, which will prohibit a credit bureau from releasing information in the credit report without the consumer’s express authorization. The credit freeze is designed to prevent credit, loans, and services from being approved in your name without your consent. However, you should be aware that using a credit freeze to take control over who gets access to the personal and financial information in your credit report may delay, interfere with, or prohibit the timely approval of any subsequent request or application you make regarding a new loan, credit, mortgage, or any other account involving the extension of credit. Pursuant to federal law, you cannot be charged to place or lift a credit freeze on your credit report. To request a credit freeze, you will need to provide the following information:
- Full name (including middle initial as well as Jr., Sr., II, III, etc.)
- Social Security number
- Date of birth
- Addresses for the prior two to five years
- Proof of current address, such as a current utility bill or telephone bill
- A legible photocopy of a government-issued identification card (state driver’s license or ID card, etc.)
- A copy of either the police report, investigative report, or complaint to a law enforcement agency concerning identity theft if you are a victim of identity theft
Contact Information for the Three Major Credit Reporting Bureaus
|Equifax Fraud Alert, P.O. Box 105069 Atlanta, GA 30348-5069
|Experian Fraud Alert, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013
|TransUnion Fraud Alert, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016
|Equifax Credit Freeze, P.O. Box 105788 Atlanta, GA 30348-5788
|Experian Credit Freeze, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013
|TransUnion Credit Freeze, P.O. Box 160, Woodlyn, PA 19094