I Lost My Wallet – How To File Fraud Alert With Credit Bureaus – Experian Equifax TransUnion

I recently lost my wallet – and after reading this post over at Five Cent Nickel about what to do when you lose your wallet – I decided that I needed to alert the various credit bureaus. My social security card (foolishly) was in my wallet, so I visited all three credit bureaus and filed fraud alerts. Here are the details -

Experian:

The Experian credit fraud website allows you to file three types of fraud alerts – a 90 day initial alert, a 7 year victim alert, or a 1 year active duty military alert. The 7 year victim alert requires a police report – and since I lost my wallet and I haven’t filed a police report, I simply filed the 90 day initial alert. After entering some basic information (name, address, social) and accepting the terms of use, I was directed to a page where I answered a few questions about my credit history. Once Experian verified that I was who I said I was, a confirmation page appeared, notifying me that a 90 day hold had been placed on my account – an no one should be able to apply for credit using my social security for the next 3 months. Any potential creditor must contact me directly before processing a credit application. I was then directed to a copy of my credit report. I am happy to report that all accounts have a zero balance. My wife also placed a fraud alert on her report.

Note: Experian stated that they would contact the other 2 bureaus and notify them of the fraud alert – but I went the extra mile and alerted them myself. Or, at least, I tried to.

Equifax

Equifax does not have an online fraud alert form -that I could find – so I called their support number 1-888-766-0008. The process for filing a fraud alert is automated – I was asked to input my social security number, a portion of my address and my phone number. After a minute or two on hold – I was informed that the automated system was down – and that I needed to send in a letter alerting Equifax that I wished to submit a fraud alert – and the letter had to include about twenty different types of documents. My hope is that Experian has already contacted Equifax – and that the fraud alert is already active.

Edited July 29, 2008 – Equifax now has an online fraud alert form.  Simply visit the Equifax home page and press the button that says “Free Report, Security Freeze, Dispute And Fraud Protection“.  From there, you should be able to file a fraud alert and / or freeze your credit.

TransUnion:

TransUnion does not have an online fraud alert form -that I could find – so I called their support number 1-800-680-7289. I was then prompted to enter my personal information (date of birth, social, etc.) and I was informed that I should receive a letter in the mail verifying that a fraud alert had been noted.

I am amazed that only 1 of the 3 bureaus has an online form for submitting fraud alerts. One would think, especially considering the reality of identity theft, that all three bureaus would have online forms (which would be prominently displayed on the bureaus’ home pages.)

Identity theft – reason 138 to hate credit.

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15 Responses to I Lost My Wallet – How To File Fraud Alert With Credit Bureaus – Experian Equifax TransUnion

  1. Patrick says:

    Good luck with this NCN. Hopefully the person who finds it is an honest individual and return it without so much as doing anything but determining the owner. I hope this turns out well for you.

  2. Mrs. Micah says:

    Good luck with this. Thanks for posting about your experience. Let us know if the wallet comes back!

  3. Philby says:

    Don’t beat yourself up too much about having your social security card in your wallet. A lot of people do this for some reason. Your post has inspired me to take an inventory of my wallet, so if I ever lose it I can more easily cancel my credit cards.

  4. ted says:

    It’s ironic to me that our entire financial “worth” is dependant on these companies’ rating systems and 2 out of 3 of them don’t make it easy to protect your identity.

  5. Even if you haven’t lost your wallet, it is recommended that you check your credit report periodically. You can also try one of the credit monitoring services. I haven’t tried any so I wouldn’t know who to recommend.

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  8. I wish my brother had found your post sooner. Same thing happened to him, only he wasn’t bright enough to contact any of the 3 credit bureaus. I think people need mroe of an education on fraud works. Thanks for the info, NCN!

  9. Robert Johnson says:

    The reason the credit bureaus don’t make it easy is because they make money selling your credit information, which they can’t do when a fraud alert is in effect.

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  11. I just signed on with Lifelock. I am so glad that they do this for consumers.

  12. Nancy says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing. This was very helpful. After thinking about a number of unlikely scenarios in which my wallet could have been stolen, I’ve come to the conclusion that I simply lost it. Thank goodness I’m not the only one…

  13. Sophia says:

    Thanks for posting this article. It helped me immensely. I’d like to add that when I called the number listed for Equifax, they now direct you to a web form. I’ve included the url http://www.fraudalerts.equifax.com. Just doing my due dilligence in hopes that Karma will reward me for helping someone else out who lost a wallet (like me)

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  15. Harriet Katz says:

    I’ve lost my wallet containing my credit cards, social security card, medicare and supplemental medical insurance cards and need to file a fraud alert. Can you help me – NOW? How do I reach the three credit companies as quickly as possible ro report these losses?