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Identity Theft Help

Learn how to prevent and respond to identity theft.

Do you suspect you are a victim of identity theft?

Yes, I Suspect I am a Victim of Identity Theft
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How to Respond to Identity Theft

Steps to Take Immediately — Follow each of the steps below to start protecting your identity.

  • Step 1: Add a 90-day fraud alert to your credit reportOpen

    What to expect when adding a 90-day fraud alert

    Also known as an initial security alert, a 90-day fraud alert notifies potential credit grantors to verify your identification before extending credit in your name.

    • There is no need to contact Equifax or TransUnion, as Experian will forward your fraud alert request to the other 2 bureaus.
    • A fraud alert may slow down your approval process for new credit.
    • You will have the option to get your complimentary credit report after adding the 90-day fraud alert.
    or call our automated service at 1 888 397 3742
    90-Day Fraud Alert

    You will now be redirected to Experian's online fraud center.

    IMPORTANT:

    • Once you add your 90-day fraud alert, you will have the option to get your free report on the confirmation screen.
    • Once you receive your Experian credit report, make sure to print your report or write down your report number.
    • Once your session ends, you will need your report number to view your report again.
  • Step 2: Review your Experian credit reportOpen

    In most cases, fraudulent activity can be detected by reviewing the accounts, inquiries and addresses that appear on a credit report. Review your report carefully for the following items:

    • Accounts: If you do not recognize an account and the account is newly opened, that may indicate that a criminal has obtained a line of credit using your identity.
    • Inquiries: Review all the inquiries on your credit report in the section titled "Requests viewed by others". This section contains inquiries from creditors that have accessed your credit report to process an application. If you do not recognize the credit grantor accessing your report, that may indicate fraudulent activity.
    • Addresses: Review the addresses appearing on your credit report. If you discover an address that you do not recognize, it may indicate that the address was used on a fraudulent application for credit.
  • Step 3: File an identity theft report with your local police department Open

    Once you have confirmed fraudulent activity on your credit report or from another source, file an identity theft report with a law enforcement agency, typically your local police department.

    • Experian recommends that you call the non-emergency number for your local police department and explain what has happened. They can tell you what information you need to provide.
    • You will need this police report in order to add a 7-year fraud victim alert (See step 5).
  • Step 4: Notify Experian to resolve fraudulent activity on your credit reportOpen

    Online dispute resolution

    To begin the removal of fraudulent information, visit Experian's online dispute process. Your report number on your credit report is required to dispute.

    Phone support

    Call the special telephone number listed on your credit report. You can speak with an Experian consumer assistance associate who is trained in fraud victim assistance. Experian will work with you to investigate the fraudulent information on your credit report.

  • Step 5: Add a 7-year fraud victim alert to your credit reportOpen

    What to expect when adding a 7-year fraud victim alert

    Also known as an extended fraud victim alert, a 7-year fraud victim alert requires that you must be a victim and provide a police report. To request this alert, follow these steps:

    • Print and complete the form
    • Provide a copy of your police report
    • Provide copies of additional documentation as explained in the form instructions
    • Mail to the address listed on the printed form

Steps to Recovery — Continue with the steps below to begin your recovery.

  • Step 6: Notify lenders and credit card companiesOpen

    Fraudulent accounts created with your identity

    Even though the fraudulent accounts created under your name were not from you, it is in your best interest to contact those businesses and let them know you were a victim of fraud. Contacting them directly may help you resolve the fraudulent information in your credit report more efficiently.

    Existing accounts that have been compromised

    Notifying your existing account holders of your victimization is a good idea, as it may help to reduce further fraudulent activities.

  • Step 7: Report your victimization to state and federal agenciesOpen

    If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, here is some important contact information that can help you respond:

  • Step 8: Monitor your creditOpen

    Why should I monitor my credit?

    It is important that you check your credit reports regularly because early detection is key to minimizing the damage that mistakes and fraudulent activity can have on your credit. Experian's credit monitoring service checks your three credit reports daily and notifies you when key changes are detected. You also get unlimited online access to your credit report and score.

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Glossary:

Initial Security Alert

What is an Initial Security Alert?

A temporary alert for consumers who have reason to believe they may be victims of fraud. Its purpose is to alert creditors that a consumer recently has been victimized or has a time-sensitive concern about identity theft. The alert will be deleted automatically when it expires after 90-days.

Extended Fraud Victim Alert

What is an Extended Fraud Victim Alert?

Victims of fraud may add a long-term (seven year) fraud prevention statement to their consumer file when they submit a valid Identity Theft Report. The Extended Fraud Victim Alert warns creditors that the consumer has been victimized. Two telephone numbers can be provided in the victim statement so creditors can call the consumer at a designated daytime or evening number when the creditor is processing a potentially fraudulent credit application.

Security Freeze

What is a Security Freeze?

Consumers can "freeze" their credit files to prevent businesses, with some exceptions, from accessing a consumer's credit report unless the consumer first removes the freeze using a personal identification number (PIN) provided by Experian. Fraud victims can freeze their credit files free of charge. There may be a nominal fee for non-victims.

You must add freezes and request that they be lifted separately at each of the national credit reporting companies. Different PIN numbers will be issued by each credit reporting company. Prices and requirements vary by state based on each state's laws.

Active Duty Alert

What is an Active Duty Alert?

Members of the U.S. military who are on active can add an Active Duty Alert to their credit history to help protect them from potential fraud and identity theft. An Active Duty Alert remains for one year and notifies creditors that the consumer is a member of the U.S. military currently on active duty, enabling them to take appropriate precautions to prevent fraud. When an Active Duty Alert is added, the credit report is removed from prescreen solicitations for two years. There is no fee to add an Active Duty Alert.

No, I am not a Victim of Identity Theft
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Tips for Preventing Identity Theft

  • Prevent identification theftOpen
    • Don't carry anything unnecessary in your wallet or purse: This includes your Social Security card, extra credit cards, birth certificate, voter's registration card and PINs or passwords you've written down on paper.
    • Keep a record of everything in your wallet: Know what's in your wallet so you know whom to contact in the event of a lost wallet or stolen wallet. You can make copies of the front and back of your cards, including driver's license and medical insurance, or write down the account numbers and contact information. Store the copies or list in a secure place at home.
    • Protect your existing credit and debit cards: If available, request credit and debit cards with your photo on the front. Instead of signing the back, write "please ask for photo id" to minimize the risk of identity theft and your cards being used by anyone but you.
    • Shred all documents that contain your information before discarding: Shred all documents (credit card statements, bills, credit card receipts, tax returns, unused checks, canceled checks, and credit reports) that contain account information, Social Security numbers, PINs, or sensitive information.
    • Shred all expired forms of identification and cards: Shred expired credit cards and driver's licenses, and never leave receipts at bank machines, bank counters, trash receptacles, or unattended gas pumps.
    • Never leave sensitive documents in your car: Don't leave your purse or wallet in the car seat or floorboard while shopping at the mall or grocery store. Instead put them in the trunk or take them with you when you leave the vehicle. If easily visible, they make a prime target for identity thieves searching for documents such as drivers licenses, Social Security Cards, and account information such as checking account or credit card numbers.
  • Prevent online or telephone identity theftOpen
    • Never send personal information via email: Never respond to emails asking you to verify your password, account number, Social Security number, or credit card numbers.
    • Never open attachments from emails you don't recognize: Viruses and Trojan Horses, which criminals use to takeover computers, often need your help to activate and infect your computer. Disguised as a video, attachment or link, these malware (malicious code) programs download to your computer once you click on a targeted link.
    • Never provide information over the phone unless you initiated the call: Make sure you are communicating with your lender or a business with a legitimate need for your information.
    • Create strong passwords: Use passwords that are at least eight digits and include letters, numbers, symbols, and upper and lower cases. Do not choose obvious passwords. Avoid pets' names, birthdates, or last four digits of your phone number or Social Security number.
    • Save minimal information in your online accounts: Do not save or "remember" credit card information or passwords with websites. Even reputable companies have security breaches. Be wary of websites that ask for more information than is really needed to set up an account or conduct a transaction. Also be careful not to over share on social networking sites.
  • Monitor key documents for signs of fraudOpen
    • Monitor your monthly statements: Inspect credit card bills, telephone bills, and bank statements for unauthorized use.
    • Keep a schedule of all your monthly statements: Keep a schedule that indicates when credit card bills, bank statements, new credit cards, and other mail is scheduled to arrive, and contact all relevant creditors, banks, or vendors if an expected piece of mail is late. When on vacation, ask the post office to place a vacation hold on all mail.
    • Review your Social Security statement: Review your Social Security Earnings and Benefits Statement annually to check for fraud by calling 1-800-772-1213 or visiting www.ssa.gov.
    • Review your annual credit reports: You can request a free copy once every 12 months. Your credit report can contain the first clues that you are fraud victim. Reviewing it regularly will help you discover fraud and stop it quickly.
    • Monitor your Experian, Equifax® and TransUnion® credit reports: Experian's credit monitoring service checks your three credit reports daily and notifies you when key changes are detected. You also get unlimited online access to your credit report and score.