Setting up fraud alerts with one of the national credit bureaus is a great way to prevent identity theft if you lost your wallet or misplaced sensitive information. The bad guys will be unable to use your identity to open new credit cards or loans in your name. A good way to prevent this is to call one of the three national credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax or TransUnion— and request that they place a fraud alert on your credit report.

You do not need to call all 3 bureaus. Once you alert one bureau then they must alert the other two so that they can place their own fraud alerts on your credit reports.

Fraud alerts will remain in place for free for 90 days. Lenders and creditors are then required to take steps to verify your identity before opening new credit cards or loans in your name. So if a application for a new card or loan is made in your name, they’ll call you first to verify.

Three credit bureaus phone numbers:

  • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
  • Experian: 1-888-397-3742
  • TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289