Fraud Alerts & Freezes

To protect yourself from possible identity theft, you may consider placing either a fraud alert or security freeze on your credit file.

Placing a Fraud Alert on Your Credit File

A fraud alert helps protect you against the possibility of an identity thief opening new credit accounts in your name. When a merchant checks the credit history of someone applying for credit, the merchant gets a notice that the applicant may be a victim of identity theft. The alert notifies the merchant to take steps to verify the identity of the applicant. You can report potential identity theft to all three of the major credit bureaus by calling any one of the toll-free fraud numbers below. You will reach an automated telephone system that allows you to flag your file with a fraud alert at all three bureaus.

Equifax

P.O. Box 105069

Atlanta, GA 30348-5069

800-525-6285

www.equifax.com

Experian

P.O. Box 1017

Allen, TX 75013

888-397-3742

www.experian.com

TransUnion

P.O. Box 2000

Chester, PA 19022-2000

800-680-7289

fraud.transunion.com

Placing a Security Freeze on Your Credit File

You may wish to place a "security freeze” or credit freeze on your credit file. A security freeze generally will prevent creditors from accessing your credit file at the three nationwide credit bureaus without your consent. However, please be aware that placing a security freeze on your credit report may delay, interfere with, or prevent the timely approval of any requests you make for new loans, credit mortgages, employment, housing or other services. The credit reporting agencies have three (3) business days after receiving a request to place a security freeze on a consumer's credit report. You can request a security freeze by contacting and placing an order with each of the credit bureaus at:

Equifax Security Freeze

P.O. Box 105788

Atlanta, GA 30348

800-525-6285

www.freeze.equifax.com

Experian Security Freeze

P.O. Box 9554

Allen, TX 75013

www.experian.com/freeze

TransUnion Security Freeze

P.O. Box 2000

Chester, PA 19022-2000

800-680-7289

freeze.transunion.com

The credit bureaus may charge a reasonable fee to place a security freeze on your credit file. In order to request a security freeze, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Your full name (including middle initial as well as Jr., Sr., II, III, etc.);
  • Social Security Number;
  • Date of birth;
  • If you have moved in the past five (5) years, provide the addresses where you have lived over the prior five (5) 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, military identification, etc.)
  • If you are a victim of identity theft, include a copy of the police report, investigative report, or complaint to a law enforcement agency concerning identity theft; and
  • If you are not a victim of identity theft, include payment by check, money order, or credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover only). Do not send cash through the mail.

Lifting a Security Freeze

To lift the security freeze in order to allow a specific entity or individual access to your credit report, you must call or send a written request to the credit reporting agencies by mail and include proper identification (name, address, and social security number) and the PIN number or password provided to you when you placed the security freeze as well as the identities of those entities or individuals you would like to receive your credit report or the specific period of time you want the credit report available. The credit reporting agencies have three (3) business days after receiving your request to lift the security freeze for those identified entities or for the specified period of time.

To remove the security freeze, you must send a written request to each of the three credit bureaus by mail and include proper identification (name, address, and social security number) and the PIN number or password provided to you when you placed the security freeze. The credit bureaus have three (3) business days after receiving your request to remove the security freeze.


Additional Information for Massachusetts Residents:

Placing a Credit Freeze: Massachusetts law also allows consumers to place a security freeze on their credit reports. See the description above about what a security freeze does and how to order them with each credit reporting agency. Under Massachusetts law, if you have been a victim of identity theft, and you provide the credit reporting agency with a valid police report, it cannot charge you to place, lift, or remove a security freeze. In all other cases, a credit reporting agency may charge you up to $5.00 each to place, temporarily lift, or permanently remove a security freeze.

Obtaining Police Reports: You have a right to obtain a police report relating to this incident. If you are the victim of identity theft, you also have the right to file a police report and obtain a copy of it.

Helpful Contacts: You can learn more about how to protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft by contacting the Federal Trade Commission to obtain additional information about how to avoid identity theft, how to place a fraud alert, and how to place a security freeze on your credit report.

Federal Trade Commission,

Consumer Response Center

600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20580

1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338)

www.ftc.gov/idtheft

For Iowa residents: You may also contact local law enforcement or the Iowa attorney General’s Office to report suspected incidents of identity theft. You can reach the Iowa Attorney General at:

Iowa Attorney General

1305 E. Walnut Street

Des Moines, IA 50319

515-281-5164

http://www.iowaattorneygeneral.gov

For residents of Maryland: You may also obtain information about preventing and avoiding identity theft from the:

Maryland Office of the Attorney General,

Consumer Protection Division

200 St. Paul Place,

Baltimore, MD 21202

1-888-743-0023

http://www.oag.state.md.us

For residents of North Carolina: You may also obtain information about preventing and avoiding identity theft from the:

North Carolina Attorney General’s Office

Consumer Protection Division

9001 Mail Service Center

Raleigh, NC 27699-9001

1-919-716-6400

http://www.ncdoj.gov