How to Place and Remove Fraud Alerts on Your Credit Report

Having your identity stolen can be scary, but taking the precaution of placing a fraud alert on your credit report is easy to do with all three credit bureaus.
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Identity theft can be frustrating and confusing, especially when your hard-earned credit is on the line. However, there are actions you can take to mitigate any damages if you are an identity theft victim, like signing up for an identity theft protection service. And there are steps you can take to help prevent that happening in the first place.

One action you can take is to place a fraud alert on your credit report. This requires lenders to verify your identity before issuing a new credit account in your name. Our guide has everything you need to know about fraud alerts, how to add them for each credit reporting agency, and more.

In this article
What is a fraud alert?
When should I place a fraud alert on my credit report?
How to place a fraud alert
How to remove a fraud alert
Fraud alert FAQs
Bottom line

What is a fraud alert?

A fraud alert is a notification you can add to your credit report that requests lenders to verify your identity before issuing new credit. It helps stop identity theft because identity thieves cannot submit credit applications or take out a loan in your name without further verifying their identity. It’s just one of the many ways to protect your identity; there are also identity theft protection services like LifeLock, which offers comprehensive identity theft protection and credit monitoring services.

Types of fraud alerts

There are three types of fraud alerts. The one that’s best for you depends on if your identity has been stolen, if your identity is suspected to be stolen, or if you’re in the military.

  • Initial fraud alerts: These alerts are placed if you believe you are a victim of fraud or identity theft. Initial alerts last for one year and can be renewed indefinitely.
  • Extended fraud alerts: These alerts are placed after your identity has been stolen and you file a police report for identity theft. Extended alerts last for seven years and can be renewed indefinitely.
  • Active duty fraud alerts: These alerts are reserved for military service members while on active duty or assigned to service away from their usual duty station. Active duty alerts last for one year and can be renewed as long as they’re deployed.

You can figure out if your identity was stolen by obtaining and reviewing a free copy of your credit report from sites like annualcreditreport.com.

When should I place a fraud alert on my credit report?

You should place an initial fraud alert on your credit report if you think you may have been a victim of identity theft. If you are reading your credit report and see a new account opened or if you see charges you don’t recognize in your name on your credit card statement, immediately contact that business to report the unrecognized activity. If you know for sure that your identity has been stolen, then place an extended fraud alert.

For active duty military, you can place the alert when serving remotely. You will need your military ID number to prove eligibility.

After deciding which type of alert is right for you, head over to one of the major credit bureau’s websites to place a fraud alert on your account.

How to place a fraud alert

Placing a fraud alert is very easy to do online; it takes just a few minutes and requires minimal paperwork. All you need to do is gather proof of your identity (such as your state-issued photo ID), proof of address (such as a utility bill), and your Social Security number. Then, read our step-by-step guide below for each of the three bureaus.

How to place a fraud alert for Experian

  1. Visit the Fraud Alert Center at Experian (https://www.experian.com/fraud/center.html) and click Add a fraud alert.

Experian main page for fraud alerts.

 2. Choose which kind of fraud alert you would like to request.

Experian page explaining the different types of fraud alerts.

 3. Fill out the form and click Submit.

Experian form for adding a fraud alert to your personal information.

How to place a fraud alert for TransUnion

  1. Visit TransUnion's fraud alerts page (https://www.transunion.com/fraud-alerts) and click on Add fraud alert.

TransUnion webpage for fraud alerts.

  2. Create a free account.

TransUnion Service Center login page.

  3. Choose the type of fraud alert you’d like to place.

TransUnion explaining the three types of fraud alerts.

   4. Add your contact information, then click Add alert.

TransUnion form requesting your contact information to add a fraud alert

How to place a fraud alert for Equifax

  1. Visit Equifax's fraud and active duty alerts page (https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/credit-fraud-alerts/) and click Place an alert.

Equifax page for adding fraud and active duty alerts.

 2. Sign up for a free account.

Equifax signup form page.

  3. Choose what kind of alert you’d like and click Continue.

Equifax page asking which type of fraud alert you would like to request.

  4. Enter your phone number.

Equifax page requesting your phone number to place an initial fraud alert.

  5. From there, you’ll see a confirmation page. Hit Place fraud alert to complete the form.

Equifax fraud alert confirmation page.

Clean your data off the web

After placing a fraud alert, it's wise to follow up by removing your personal data from the internet. Sites like Whitepages publicly display data collected by data brokers — with or without your knowledge. This data can include your name, phone number, address, and much more.

Thankfully, there are services that help you remove your personal info from hundreds of data broker sites. Some of the best we've tested include:

  • Incogni: Created by the makers of Surfshark VPN, Incogni scours more than 180 broker sites for your information and requests removal on your behalf. This low-maintenance service also helps you pull your info off of marketing lists and continuously scans in case your info pops up on new sites.

    See Incogni Plans | Read Our Incogni Review
  • DeleteMe: Another data removal service, DeleteMe comes with a few extras on top of erasing your info from the internet. These include credit card, phone number, and email masking, which could make DeleteMe's slightly higher cost more worthwhile. Masking hides your true card or phone number as well as your true email and makes it more difficult for data brokers to collect that info.

    See DeleteMe Plans | Read Our DeleteMe Review
  • Privacy Bee: You can start out with a free privacy screening from Privacy Bee, giving you a taste of what this service can do. If you opt to pay for the service, you get access to a variety of helpful tools. Along with scanning the internet for your personal data and requesting its removal, Privacy Bee can scan your emails so you can whitelist certain businesses that should have access to your data.

    See Privacy Bee Plans | Read Our Privacy Bee Review

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How to remove a fraud alert

Removing fraud alerts is just as easy as adding them, especially if you follow our step-by-step instructions below for each credit bureau. They should automatically be removed once a fraud alert expires, but if you want to remove one manually, it’s easy to do.

How to remove an Experian fraud alert

  1. Visit the Fraud Alert Center at Experian (https://www.experian.com/fraud/center.html) and click Remove a fraud alert.

Experian main page for fraud alerts.

2. Print out and fill out the form. Be sure you have information to validate your identity, such as a driver’s license and a copy of a utility bill, bank, or insurance statement.

Experian form to request a fraud alert be removed.

3. Mail the form to:

Experian

P.O. Box 9554

Allen, TX 75013

How to remove a TransUnion fraud alert

  1. Visit TransUnion's fraud alerts page (https://www.transunion.com/fraud-alerts) and click Remove Fraud Alert.

TransUnion webpage for fraud alerts.

 2. Enter your identifying information and submit.

 3. You can also call TransUnion directly at 800-916-8800.

How to remove an Equifax fraud alert

  1. To remove a fraud alert, you can call Equifax directly at 888-836-6351 from 8 a.m. to midnight EST, seven days a week.
  2. You can also send a request by mail to:

    Equifax Information Services LLC

    P.O. Box 105069

    Atlanta, GA 30348-5069

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Fraud alert FAQs


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Do you have to contact all three bureaus for fraud alerts?

No, placing a fraud alert automatically adds the alert to your credit files at all three bureaus. You only need to file with one bureau, and the other two will get the information and place the fraud alert on your credit report.


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What is the difference between a fraud alert and a credit freeze?

A credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, blocks access to your credit report and prevents others from opening accounts in your name. A fraud alert is just a precaution that makes potential lenders verify your identity before granting a new line of credit in your name.


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How long does a fraud alert stay on credit?

It depends on the type of alert. Initial fraud alerts last for one year, extended fraud alerts last for seven years, and active duty military alerts last for one year. All of them can be renewed, or they are removed once they expire.


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Is there a fee for fraud alerts?

No, submitting a fraud alert for all three credit bureaus is free to both place and renew.

Bottom line

Fraud alerts are an extremely useful tool in protecting your identity and credit. They’re easy to add and remove in just a few minutes. These alerts can make sure that years of paying off your credit cards and loans for a good credit score don’t get ruined by one bad actor.

Keeping your personal information off the internet is one way to stay safe from fraud. Personal data removal services like DeleteMe and Incogni can search for your data online and request it be removed from data broker sites. 

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Author Details
Waverly Colville is a Brooklyn-based journalist and producer. She holds a B.J. in Investigative Journalism and a B.A. in International Peace Studies from the University of Missouri.