NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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How to Place a Fraud Alert

How to Place a Fraud Alert

          If you or someone you knows believes they are a victim of identity theft or if your wallet, Social Security card, or other personal, financial, or account information is lost or stolen, one of the first recommended steps is to place a fraud alert on your credit file.  And how is that done?

          Three nationwide credit reporting companies keep records of your credit history. If you think someone has misused your personal or financial information, call one of the companies and ask them to put an initial fraud alert on your credit report.  A fraud alert is free. You must provide proof of your identity. The company you call must tell the other companies about your alert.

          An initial fraud alert can make it harder for an identity thief to open more accounts in your name. When you have an alert on your report, a business must verify your identity before it issues credit in your name, so it may try to contact you. Be sure the credit reporting companies have your current contact information so they can get in touch with you. The initial alert stays on your report for 90 days.

          You can renew it after 90 days. It also allows you to order one free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting companies.

          You may also want to place a credit freeze on your credit file. A credit freeze means potential creditors cannot get your credit report. That makes it less likely an identity thief can open new accounts in your name.  Putting a credit freeze on your credit file does not affect your credit score. If you place a credit freeze on your credit file, you can still open a new account, apply for a job, rent an apartment, buy insurance, refinance your mortgage, or do anything else that requires your credit report.  You will need to contact the credit reporting company to ask for a lift on the freeze for that particular transaction.

          Contact #’s for the three major credit reporting companies are:

Equifax: 1‑800‑525‑6285

Experian:  1‑888‑397‑3742

TransUnion: 1‑800‑680‑7289

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