Protecting yourself from identity theft
If you are concerned about identity theft, you can place an identity theft/fraud alert, get credit freeze information for your state, or order a free credit report by calling any of the following credit bureaus at one of the phone numbers listed below or by visiting their respective websites.
You can request credit reports from all three credit bureaus be sent to you free of charge. Even if you do not find any suspicious activity on your initial credit reports, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends that you check your credit reports periodically. Thieves may hold stolen information to use at different times. Checking your credit reports periodically can help you spot problems and address them quickly.
You can place a fraud alert with the credit bureaus free of charge. A fraud alert tells creditors to contact you before they open any new accounts or change your existing accounts. Contact any one of the three major credit bureaus. As soon as one credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the others are notified to place fraud alerts. The initial fraud alert stays on your credit report for one year. You can renew it after one year. You may also place an extended fraud alert, which lasts up to seven years unless you cancel it sooner. Additionally, you can provide a phone number instructing lenders to contact you if someone applies for credit in your name, and you will get an instant alert to the potential fraud.
Under state law, a security freeze (or credit freeze) prohibits a credit bureau from releasing any information from a consumer’s credit report without written authorization. There is no fee associated with freezing or thawing your credit. The process of freezing your credit takes only a few minutes. You must contact each credit bureau individually to freeze your credit with each bureau. To place a security freeze, you may need to provide the following information:
|Your full name||Date of Birth||Social Security number|
|Postal address||Email address||Other information the Credit Reporting Agency may require.|
The credit bureaus have one (1) business day after your request to place a security freeze if made by telephone or secure electronic means. If the request is made by mail, the credit bureaus have three (3) business days. The credit bureaus must also send written confirmation to you within five (5) business days.
To lift the security freeze, in order to allow a specific entity or individual access to your credit report, you must apply online, call, or send a written request to the credit bureaus by mail. When you contact a credit bureau to lift the security freeze, you will need to include proper identification (name, address, and Social Security number) and the PIN number or password that was provided to you (if provided) when you placed the security freeze as well as the identities of those entities or individuals you would like to receive your credit report or the specific period of time you want the credit report available. If you request a credit thaw online or by phone, the credit bureaus are required by law to complete the request within one hour. If you request the thaw by regular mail, the credit bureaus have three business days after receiving your request to lift the security freeze for those identified entities or for the specified period of time.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides more information about how to protect your identity at either https://www.ftc.gov/ or https://www.identitytheft.gov/. You may also find additional information on any applicable rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. You can also contact the FTC by using the information below.
Bureau of Consumer Protection
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580
For District of Columbia Residents:
You may also contact the Attorney General for the District of Columbia for more information about how to protect your identity by using the information below:
Attorney General Brian Schwalb
400 6th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 727-3400
For Maryland Residents:
You may also contact the Maryland Attorney General’s Office for more information about how to protect your identity by using the information below:
Attorney General Anthony G. Brown
200 St. Paul Place
Baltimore, MD 21202
For New York Residents:
You may also contact the New York Attorney General’s Office for more information about how to protect your identity by using the information below:
Attorney General Letitia James
Toll Free Phone Number:
Other New York Resident Resources:
New York Department of State
Telephone Number: 1 (800) 697-1220
New York Division of State Police
Telephone Number: (518) 457-6721
For North Carolina Residents:
You may also contact the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office for more information about how to protect your identity by using the information below:
Attorney General Josh Stein
9001 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-9001
Toll Free in NC: 1-877-566-7226
Outside NC: 919-716-6000
For Oregon Residents:
You can contact the Oregon Attorney General at:
Oregon Department of Justice
1162 Court Street NE, Salem, OR
97301-4096, (877) 877- 9392
For Rhode Island Residents:
You may also contact the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office for more information about how to protect your identity by using the information below:
Attorney General Peter F. Neronha
Toll Free Phone Number: (401) 274-4400