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How to Set Up a Fraud Alert

If you believe that someone has stolen your personal information you can set up a fraud alert with the credit reporting agencies.  This is a free service.  Follow these steps to protect your identity:

Step 1: Contact a credit reporting agency

  • TransUnion at 1-800-680-7289
  • Experian at 1-888-397-3742
  • Equifax at 1-888-766-0008

Tell them that you believe that you have been the victim of identity theft.

Ask them to put a fraud alert on your credit file.

Confirm that the company you are speaking with is going to contact the other two credit reporting agencies.

Make sure that the credit reporting agency has all of your current contact information in the event that they need to get in touch with you.

Step 2: Check your credit reports

With your fraud alert you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies.

Get your three free reports and check them for:

  • accounts you did not open,
  • account balances that do not appear correct,
  • outstanding balances that you do not recognize, or
  • incorrect personal information (Social Security number, address, name, initials or employers).

Be sure to check the judgments and collections sections of the reports, too, for information that does not belong to you.

Step 3: Mark your calendar for 90 days from today

Your fraud alert will last for 90 days.  After that, you can renew it if necessary.

If needed you can apply for an Extended Fraud Alert that lasts for 7 years.

Step 4: Keep accurate files

For every telephone or mail communication that you have with the credit reporting agencies, keep accurate notes and copies of all letters sent.