Fraud Alert

Fraud Alert vs. Security Freeze

Dear Experian,

What is and where can I find my Security Freeze Personal Identification Number? I have an extended fraud alert on my credit report and would like it removed. I have drafted and put together all the information to send to have it removed; however, I am lacking this Security Freeze Personal Identification number.


Dear IDR,

You are confusing two different fraud assistance tools.

What is an Extended Fraud Alert?

An extended fraud alert is also called a fraud victim statement. While an inital fraud alert can be added to your credit report immediately, the extended alert statement can be added to your credit report when you provide proof of your identity and a copy of a police report or other valid identity theft report verifying you are a fraud victim.

The statement appears on your credit report every time it is requested, and remains for seven years or until you ask that it be removed. It says that you are a victim of fraud and asks that the business obtaining the report to contact you before granting credit in your name. The statement includes two telephone numbers you provide.

You do not need a personal identification number (PIN) to have the statement removed. You will need to provide your request in writing along with copies of documents to verify your identity. That is necessary to ensure you, not an identity thief, is asking that the statement be taken off of your credit report.

What is a Security Freeze?

You can also place what is referred to as a "security freeze" on your credit history. Unlike a victim statement, a security freeze prohibits potential new creditors from accessing your credit history unless you first lift the freeze. You will need a PIN if you have frozen your credit file. You would have created or received the PIN number when you first requested that your credit history be frozen.

You must unfreeze your credit file before applying for credit or other services that require accessing your credit history, such as opening a new cellular telephone account or applying to rent an apartment.

If you do not unfreeze your credit file in advance of making an application, the business will be unable to access your credit history and so will be unable to process your application.

Thanks for asking.
The "Ask Experian" team