Initial fraud alerts
An initial fraud alert requires creditors to take extra steps to verify your identity before accessing your credit report or opening new lines of credit in your name. After you place a fraud alert, all three credit bureaus are required by law to automatically send you a free credit report. This fraud alert will remain on your credit file for one year.
When you receive your credit reports, review them carefully. Look to see whether there are any accounts that you did not open, unexplained debts, or other actions that you didn't take.
To place a fraud alert, contact one of the credit reporting agencies. That agency will then notify the others.
Extended fraud alerts
If you reported identity theft to a police department, you might want to submit a copy of the report to one of the three major credit bureaus, and have an extended fraud alert placed on your file. Extended fraud alerts last for 7 years.
For more information on extended fraud alerts, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s information on consumer information.