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Updated August 30 2017
Archived Original Last Updated September 17, 2001

Fraud Alert Header
Identity Theft
During a time of crisis we may find ourselves suddenly thrust into a world that is very much different than the life we knew before. It is easy to become overwhelmed at such a time. Our attention may be split, day-to-day details can fall by the wayside — and this can leave us vulnerable to those who look to take advantage of the situation.

In the aftermath of a disaster or traumatic event – and in particular with the present day unmitigated reach of social media, email phishing and other scams, and more (and worse) – and with the risk/threat of the subsequent publication of names, telephone numbers, and cities of residence of those who may be affected by disaster, trauma, crime including hacking, or other event, is issuing a caution and suggesting that individuals and as appropriate family members contact financial institutions and Credit Reporting Agencies to notify them of the situation and, if available, place a Fraud Alert on accounts.

A Fraud Alert will flag the account and let anyone considering granting new credit – possibly at the request of an identity thief or other bad actor – that they should proceed with caution. The credit-granting company should then request additional identification from the individual seeking information or to obtain credit. You can also ask that any request for credit be confirmed by you before a new account is opened.

For future reference, be sure that you keep a log with the date, company name, telephone number, and full name or ID number of the representative you spoke with when you requested the Fraud Alert.

Important Notes:

Fraud Alert is not the same as reporting a card Lost or Stolen.

Be aware that reporting a card Lost or Stolen will likely result in the account being frozen which may potentially compound an already difficult situation. Note that some financial institutions have excellent policies in place to provide immediate replacement of any potentially compromised card. Check with your financial instituation — and ideally before a problem arises so that in the event you need to escalate a matter, the process is already clearly outlined.

For more information or to request a Fraud Alert, call your Credit Card issuer at the number found on your statement or at the following numbers and call the Credit-Reporting Agencies as follows:

Credit IssuerFraud Alert Telephone Number
American Express(800) 528-2121
You can also call this number
for American Express Card Replacement
Capital One(800) 955-7070
MasterCard International      Contact the issuing bank directly
VisaContact the issuing bank directly
Credit Reporting Agency Telephone Number
Equifax(800) 525-6285
Experian(888) 397-3742 Option 2
Dial carefully; area code is 888; 800 number belongs to a company marketing services to people who think they have called Experian
TransUnion(800) 680-7289
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Out of clutter find simplicity. From discord find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.  Albert Einstein

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