Here Are the Credit Bureaus You Need to Contact About Fraud


If you've ever been the victim of identity theft, you already know that straightening out the mess can be a real headache. While many banks and credit card companies are diligent and speedy about reversing fraudulent charges, restoring your good name on your credit report requires an additional, important step.

Giving the three major credit bureaus—Equifax, TransUnion and Experian—a heads up can go a long way in keeping your identity safe and preventing further damage. Here's how to do it.

Reporting the Fraud

Your first order of business is to report the fraud to the Federal Trade Commission via You can also do it over the phone at 1-877-438-4338, but doing it online will also get you an identity theft report and a recovery plan. This includes template letters you can fill in and send to creditors to dispute fraudulent charges.

How to Contact the Three Major Credit Bureaus

Do it sooner rather than later. This means initiating two different action items: establishing a fraud alert and freezing your credit. The good news is that both are relatively easy (and free).

Fraud alert: A fraud alert puts a 90-day flag on your credit report that tells lenders not to issue any new credit until they've verified your identity. (Victims of identity theft can extend this timeframe up to seven years.) Setting a fraud alert can be done online with only one credit bureau that will then alert the other two. With TransUnion, for example, you can report it with a few clicks before they contact Experian and Equifax to do the same. However, you'll need to contact each bureau individually if you want to delete your fraud alert.

Credit Freeze: Unless you freeze your credit, lenders can still view your credit report and ultimately allow for new accounts to be open in your name. A security freeze safeguards your credit report so that lenders can't see it or make any lending decisions without your express consent. Freezing and thawing your credit is actually pretty easy. You just need to contact each credit bureau (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) individually and follow the prompts.

acorns+cnbcacorns cnbc

Join Acorns


About Us

Learn More

Follow Us

All investments involve risk, including loss of principal. The contents presented herein are provided for general investment education and informational purposes only and do not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any specific securities or engage in any particular investment strategy. Acorns is not engaged in rendering any tax, legal, or accounting advice. Please consult with a qualified professional for this type of advice.

Any references to past performance, regarding financial markets or otherwise, do not indicate or guarantee future results. Forward-looking statements, including without limitations investment outcomes and projections, are hypothetical and educational in nature. The results of any hypothetical projections can and may differ from actual investment results had the strategies been deployed in actual securities accounts. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.

Advisory services offered by Acorns Advisers, LLC (“Acorns Advisers”), an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Brokerage and custody services are provided to clients of Acorns Advisers by Acorns Securities, LLC (“Acorns Securities”), a broker-dealer registered with the SEC and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (“SIPC”). Acorns Pay, LLC (“Acorns Pay”) manages Acorns’s demand deposit and other banking products in partnership with Lincoln Savings Bank, a bank chartered under the laws of Iowa and member FDIC. Acorns Advisers, Acorns Securities, and Acorns Pay are subsidiaries of Acorns Grow Incorporated (collectively “Acorns”). “Acorns,” the Acorns logo and “Invest the Change” are registered trademarks of Acorns Grow Incorporated. Copyright © 2021 Acorns and/or its affiliates.

NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns Grow Incorporated.