What should you know about placing fraud alerts?
Placing a fraud alert in your credit report file can help reduce the cost and damage suffered from identity theft.
If you believe your personal information has been stolen and misused, act now. Contact and file a report with any one of the three major credit bureaus, who can place an initial alert in your file and send you all three credit reports free of charge.
Frequently Asked Questions about Fraud Alerts — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers the following information about fraud alerts (Visit the FTC's Identity Theft Web site to learn more):
What does a fraud alert do? It tells creditors to follow certain procedures to protect you before opening any new accounts or making certain changes to your existing accounts.
How do I contact a credit bureau to place a fraud alert in my file?
Call the toll-free fraud number of any one of the three consumer reporting companies below to place a fraud alert on your credit report. The company you call is required to contact the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of your report, too. When you place the initial fraud alert in your file, remember to request free copies of all three credit reports.
- Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; www.equifax.com; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA, 30374-0241
- Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (1-888-397-3742); www.experian.com; P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
- TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
How long does a fraud alert stay on my credit report?
- An initial alert stays on your credit report for at least 90 days. You may ask that an initial fraud alert be placed on your credit report if you suspect you have been, or are about to be, a victim of identity theft. This alert is appropriate if your wallet has been stolen or if you’ve been taken in by a “phishing” scam.
- An extended alert stays on your credit report for seven years. You can have an extended alert placed on your credit report if you’ve been a victim of identity theft and you provide the consumer reporting company with an identity theft report. This extended alert entitles you to two free credit reports within 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus. Also, the credit bureaus will remove your name from marketing lists for pre-screened credit offers for five years – unless you ask them to put your name back on the list before then.
The Security and Privacy information contained on the Virginia Commerce Bank public Web site is intended to provide general information only and does not attempt to give you advice that relates to your specific circumstances. You should consult an appropriate professional for specific advice tailored to your situation.