Credit Infocenter
Call Lexington Law 800.461.0524 for a FREE Credit Repair Consultation

Placing a Fraud Alert on Your Credit Reports

Last Updated: June 30, 2017

If you believe you have been a victim identity theft or fraud, you need to protect your credit. One option is placing a fraud alert on your credit reports through the three national credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You will still be able to apply for new credit, but the alert will make it harder for thieves to open new accounts in your name. Do nothing and you could end up with fraudulent debts that don’t belong to you and damaged credit in need of repair.

How Fraud Alerts Work

When you place a fraud alert on your credit reports, it’s a red flag to creditors that an identity thief may try and open a credit account in your name. So, if a creditor receives an application from you, they are supposed to contact you for verification – to be certain it is, indeed, you – before extending new credit. According to Equifax, this includes new credit accounts, as well as new cards or increased credit limits on existing accounts.

There are three types of fraud alerts, all of which are free to place and remove.

866.785.9884 Call for a FREE credit repair consultation & FICO® score from Lexington Law

Initial Fraud Alert

An Initial Fraud Alert only stays on your credit reports for 90 days, but you can renew it indefinitely.

1) Request the alert through one of the three national credit bureaus (they will notify the other two)

2) Be prepared to provide the following information:

3) Renew every 90 days, as needed

Extended Fraud Alert

Place Fraud Alert Credit Report

An Extended Fraud Alert stays on your credit reports for 7 years. For this reason, the process for placing an Extended Fraud Alert on your credit reports is much more involved than that of an Initial Fraud Alert.

1) File an Identity Theft Report

2) Request the alert through one of the three national credit bureaus (they will notify the other two)

3) Be prepared to provide:

In addition to the alert placed on your credit reports, your name will also be removed from prescreened credit and insurance offers for 5 years. Also, within 12 months of placing an Extended Fraud Alert on your credit reports, you are entitled to two free credit reports from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

Active Duty Alert

An Active Duty Alert stays on your credit reports for 12 months. If you are an active-duty servicemember, this type of alert can help protect you from fraud during times of deployment.

1) Request the alert through one of the three national credit bureaus (they will notify the other two)

2) Be prepared to provide:

In addition to the alert placed on your credit reports, your name will also be removed from prescreened credit card offers for 2 years.

Warning About Fraud Alerts

There is the possibility that some creditors will not follow through on the fraud alert and will fail to contact you for verification.

"While lenders and service providers are supposed to seek and obtain your approval before granting credit in your name if you have a fraud alert on your file," says security expert Brian Krebs, "they’re not legally required to do this."

And Swiped author Adam Levin says: “A lot of lenders, regardless of what they’re supposed to do, don’t take the time to check…. A credit freeze isn’t a silver bullet, but it’s certainly better than a fraud alert.”

Another Option: Credit Freeze

Unlike a fraud alert, a credit freeze:

Learn more about credit freezes.

Ready to Request a Fraud Alert?

Use the online request forms at Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion

Call 800.461.0524 and speak to a Credit Repair Expert at Lexington Law
Have Questions About Credit Repair? Get Answers with a FREE Consultation
Free Credit Repair Consultation & FICO® score from Lexington Law