Tax ID Numbers Do Not Replace Social Security Numbers

Pensive man at laptop in home office
Dear Experian,

I do not have a Social Security number. Instead, I have an EIN number. Does the EIN number replace a Social Security number when placing a fraud alert?


Dear NKO,

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is assigned only to an employer, not to an individual. As the name implies, an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is issued to an individual for taxation purposes. Neither are included in a credit report and if used would be recognized as an invalid Social Security number.

However, you don't need an EIN, ITIN or even a Social Security number to have a credit report.

A Social Security number is very helpful when compiling your credit history because it is the only identifier uniquely assigned to each U.S. consumer. And, if present in the credit report, it is required when requesting your own report from Experian to ensure that we provide you the correct report. However, if a Social Security number is not reported for you, Experian will rely on other identification elements to compile your credit history.

Those identifying elements include your name, any name variations reported as belonging to you, and your current and previous addresses.

If you have an established credit history, you can add a fraud alert, even if you don't have a Social Security number.

An initial security alert lasts twelve months and alerts lenders to take steps to verify your identity because you have reason to believe you may be a victim of fraud. A victim statement lasts seven years and states you are a victim of identity theft. You must file an identity theft report with a valid agency, such as your local police department, before adding a victim statement.

Thanks for asking.
The "Ask Experian" team

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