#3 – PLACE AN INITIAL FRAUD ALERT
If you see accounts or search inquiries on your credit reports that you did not authorize, you can contact each credit bureau via phone and in writing (using certified mail, return receipt requested) to let them know about the fraud and ask that they remove the fraudulent items.
You can also ask each credit bureau to place a fraud alert on your report. A fraud alert is simply a statement attached to your credit reports that indicates you are (or may be) the victim of identity theft. A fraud alert signals to lenders and creditors to take extra precaution before granting credit in your name. An initial fraud alert lasts for 90 days and does not require any documentation to put in place. Simply call one of the credit bureaus, who will in turn alert the other two. Or, contact all three yourself to make sure the fraud alerts are placed on each of your reports as quickly as possible.
Once you’ve placed an alert, you are eligible to receive another copy of your report from each bureau. Ask that they send the report to you without your full Social Security number printed on it, for extra protection.