Immediate Steps When You Suspect Identity Theft
If you take action quickly, you can stop an identity thief from doing more damage. Follow these three steps as soon as possible:
Resolving identity theft takes phone calls and letters. Create a system to organize your papers and calls, and to track deadlines.
- Call your local police to file a police report for “Victim of Identity Theft.” Get the Officers name, badge number and police report number. These will be important to have later.
- Notify your bank and credit card companies.
- Most importantly, initiate a Fraud Alert.
- If you file a Fraud alert with Equifax (see below) they will alert the other 2 bureaus (Equifax and TransUnion)
There are 2 types of Fraud Alerts: An initial 90 day fraud alert and an extended fraud alert
An initial 90 day fraud alert indicates to anyone requesting your credit file that you suspect you are a victim of fraud. When you or someone else attempts to open a credit account in your name, increase the credit limit on an existing account, or obtain a new card on an existing account, the lender should takes steps to verify that you have authorized the request. If the creditor cannot verify this, the request should not be satisfied. You may also request one additional free credit file disclosure. To request your initial 90 day fraud alert online click here:https://alerts.equifax.com/
An extended fraud alert is similar to an initial 90 day alert, except that it lasts for 7 years, and to verify your request a creditor must contact you on the telephone number(s) you provide to Equifax when you requested the extended fraud alert. A valid police report showing that you have been a victim of identity theft is required to place an extended fraud alert. Also, you may request two additional free credit file disclosures, and your name is removed from prescreened offers of credit or insurance for 5 years. Download an extended fraud alert request form. (The request form requires Adobe Reader. Get Adobe Reader)
An active duty alert is available to persons on active military duty and is similar to an initial 90 day alert, except that it lasts 12 months and your name is removed from prescreened offers of credit or insurance for 2 years. Request your active duty alert online.
For any of these alerts, you will receive a confirmation when the alert is added to your credit file.
Use our checklist to keep track
**Printable versions are available in our credit repair guide**
Additional Checklists and Advice Can Be Found In Our Free Credit Report Guide
How this works:
Equifax works with the other two nationwide credit reporting agencies, Experian and TransUnion, so that when you request an alert through Equifax, your request is automatically sent to the other two agencies. Generally, the alert will be placed on your credit file with all three agencies within 48 hours.
To place a Fraud Alert on your Equifax credit file:
- Online: Place anor Active Duty Alert https://www.alerts.equifax.com
- Call: 1-800-525-6285 OR
- Write to:
Equifax Information Services LLC
P.O. Box 105069
Atlanta, GA 30348-5069