Identity Theft


You can protect yourself – starting right now.

Receiving immediate notifications after a change on your credit report can save you a lot of time, money, and stress in the long run. Thanks to the increasing war on identity theft, companies are developing new and innovative strategies and technologies to defend your credit and your good name. Start by selecting a credit monitoring company – has a quick and easy credit defense system.

If you do not have your credit report monitored, and you believe you have been a victim of identity theft, you may need to place a fraud alert on your credit report. Below you can learn about types of fraud alerts.

Initial alert

If you feel you have been a victim of identity theft, you may want to place an initial alert on your credit report. An initial alert is optimal if your wallet has been stolen or if you've been the victim of a "phishing" scam (for more information please see our How Does Identity Theft Happen page). When you place an initial fraud alert on your credit report, you can receive one free credit report from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies. Other points of note:

  • You only have to contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies to place the initial alert. That agency will notify the other two.
  • You must provide a phone number where you can be reached so creditors can confirm your identity.
  • While the alert is on your file, you will most likely be unable to receive instant credit.
  • An initial alert stays on your credit report for at least 90 days.

Extended alert

If you provide the consumer reporting company with an identity theft report, you can have an extended alert placed on your credit report.

  • You are entitled to two free credit reports within 12 months from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies.
  • Your name will be removed from marketing lists such as pre-screened credit offers for up to five years.
  • You must provide evidence that you have been a victim of identity theft.
  • An extended alert stays on your credit report for seven years.

No matter which fraud alert you choose, you must provide your Social Security number, name, address, and personal information. It’s likely that you will need to verify your contact information several times, which is why you should give the credit reporting agency and the credit bureaus your cell phone number, so you can always take the call and keep the painstaking credit repair process moving forward.

Credit freeze

A freeze allows you to block access to your credit report and score, and prevents identity thieves from opening new accounts in your name. Credit freezes are not available in all states. Check with your state government to see if credit freezes apply to your state.

Remember, if you keep your credit monitored, you should not need a fraud alert or credit freeze. There are many online resources for credit monitoring, which provide instant notifications if there has been a change to your credit file. can help you find the credit monitoring solution you need.