Although fraud alerts cannot be placed directly on bank accounts, you can place a fraud alert on your credit file. This alerts credit reporting agencies to the fact that you think personal identifying information may have fallen into the hands of criminals; the agencies then will contact you if anyone tries to open another bank account in your name.
Three Credit Reporting Agencies
There are three credit reporting agencies that monitor the credit files of American consumers: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Placing an initial fraud alert on your account is free. To do this, simply call one of these three credit reporting agencies by phone and report that you have been the victim of identity theft.
Initial Versus Extended Fraud Alerts
An initial fraud alert lasts for 90 days and simply requires that you contact one of the three national credit reporting agencies and request it. An extended fraud alert can be placed on your credit file as well; it lasts for seven years. However, placing an extended fraud alert on your credit report requires that you provide police documentation that you have been the victim of identity theft.
- Federal Trade Commission: Taking Charge--What to Do if Your Identity is Stolen
- Equifax: Fraud Alerts
- Federal Trade Commission. "Equifax Data Breach Settlement." Accessed Oct. 29, 2020.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Section 1026.12, Special Credit Card Provisions." Accessed Oct. 29, 2020.
- Equifax. "7 Things to Know About Fraud Alerts." Accessed Oct. 29, 2020.