It depends on your circumstances. There is a difference between a freeze and an alert. Review the following information and select the best option based on the circumstances of your case.
- Credit Freeze – This is one way to protect yourself against identity theft by restricting access to your credit report to minimize the chances of identity thieves opening new accounts in your name.
- Fraud Alert – If you are not a victim of identity theft but you want some extra protection, you can requests a fraud alert be placed on your account. Companies will still be able to access your credit report as long as they can verify your identity.
You only need to call one of the 3 credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion) to place a fraud alert. The credit bureau you contact will alert the remaining credit bureaus. The different types of options and length of restrictions are listed below:
- Fraud Alert – Used when you are concerned about identity theft – In place for one year
- Extended Fraud Alert – Used when you are a victim of identity theft - In place for 7 years
- Active Duty Military Alerts – Used to freeze tour accounts while deployed – In place for one year send can be renewed for length of employment
To place a fraud alert or credit freeze, you will need to provide your name, address, date of birth, Social Security Number and some additional personal information. The Credit Bureaus will issue you a PIN or password that you will need to use to unlock your credit report.
Equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services or 800-685-1111
Experian.com/help or 888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)
TransUnion.com/credit-help or 888-909-8872