If you feel that you have been or may become the victim of fraud or identity theft, take control of your credit as soon as possible. Place a fraud alert on your credit report so that you won't fall victim to someone else's spending spree. Here's how to place a fraud alert on your credit report with each of the three credit bureaus.
Contact Equifax. Contact Equifax and request that a fraud alert be placed on your credit report if you suspect that someone is trying to open up a credit account in your name (such as a credit card, car loan or cell phone contract). You can either talk to them directly on the phone, or make your request online at https://www.alerts.equifax.com/. This places a flag on your credit report and requires that Equifax contact you whenever a credit request is made on your account to ensure that you actually want this to happen. Give your cell phone and home phone number as contact numbers so that you can be easily reached.
Contact Experian. You will also need to contact Experian to place a fraud alert on your credit account. Again, phone or website requests are accepted. Visit them at http://www.experian.com/fraud. It should take effect within 24 hours and you should receive confirmation by mail or email within 10 business days of placing the fraud alert on your credit report.
Contact TransUnion. Finally, you will need to contact TransUnion to place a fraud alert on your credit report with them. (While it is said that the credit bureaus will share your fraud alert information, it's best just to call all three of them to ensure that there is no possibility for fraud on your account.) Although you cannot make online requests with TransUnion, you can still phone them. It's a quick process that should take effect within one business day.
Keep in mind that you can employ the services of companies like Debix and Lifelock to place these fraud alerts on your credit report for you. They will manage your fraud alerts for you. Whereas fraud alerts generally expire within 90 days of your request with each credit bureau, these two companies will automatically send in your new request for you until you state otherwise. It's not a free service, but it is another option when you need to place a fraud alert on your credit report.