How to Create A Credit Alert

One free step to require manual confirmation when opening or updating new credit accounts.

Why create a credit alert?

Creating a credit alert, also known as a security alert or fraud alert, adds a record to your credit report that signals to creditors to additional verification steps when adding or updating credit accounts associated with your identity. For example, you can request a creditor contact your email or phone during verification.

There are three types of alerts:

  1. Initial Fraud Alerts: last up to one year and can be renewed as early as one calendar month after creation.
  2. Extended Fraud Alerts: last up to seven years and are only available to victims of identity theft.
  3. Active Duty Alerts: last up to one year and are for eligible military personnel.

Each type of alert offers similar levels of protection. If you're looking to increase security by restricting who can view your credit report, consider a credit freeze.

If you believe your identity has been stolen, report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission at immediately.

How do I do it?

There are three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can add a fraud alert to your credit report by contacting one of the three: that bureau will contact the others.

All three bureaus allow creating the alert online, by phone, or by mail. Requests made by mail must be applied within three business days, while requests made online or by phone must be applied within one business day.

Here's the contact information for each major bureaus:

How do I undo it?

Unlike when creating an alert, bureaus do not inform each other when an alert is removed. You need to contact each of the three major bureaus using the information above to remove the alert.

Additional Resources