What should I do if I’m worried my credit was breached by Equifax?

I am worried my credit may have been breached during the recent Equifax scare and was wondering what people are doing to protect themselves now and going forward?

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Ruthie W
This is the link I was looking for, thank you!! My 90 day Equifax fraud alert is about to expire and it looks like with that form I can only put in an initial alert. Any ideas on how to extend my fraud alert?
Alex Schenker (Admin)
Hi Ruthie,

From what I can gather you can use this form to place an extended fraud alert on your account. However, it appears you also need to submit a a valid law enforcement or USPS report that alleges mail theft.

If you’re really concerned, you may want to look into freezing your credit file, although from what I’ve heard it can take some time to “unfreeze,” so keep that in mind.

Michelle Schenker (Admin)
If you are even remotely concerned, you should just go ahead and initiate a free 90 day fraud alert with Experian, Transunion or Equifax (probably a safe place to be right now, post-breach!). You only need to do it with one of these and they will communicate with all three of the credit reporting agencies. I think if anyone has any worries whatsoever then just go ahead and do that because then the fraud alert allows people to still proceed with any third-party loan applications or other things they might have going on. However, the caveat is that when the lender is trying to submit your credit file for approval, they will get a rejection with a notice from the credit reporting agency saying that they need to call you to verify. The rejection notice provides the lender with the phone number that you have provided as a part of setting your fraud alert. The Lender calls you at the number again to verify your loan application and all you have to do is verbally confirm that it was actually you so they can proceed with the application.

This should give you a really good idea if your account has been breached. If anyone’s trying to use your social security number during that 90 day window, and you get pinged a couple times, then you will know right away. You will also know if you might need to extend the fraud alert.

Next line of defense going forward would be to sign up for a credit monitoring service. A lot of people are doing credit freezes. I actually highly discourage people from doing that because they are very difficult to remove and may cause issues when you do want to use your credit legitimately. Here are our recommendations for credit monitoring with an identity theft protection service.

Sam J
Looks like the new Equifax TrustedId.com service does let you lock/unlock your file in 48 hours, but I’m not sure as to whether it only locks the Equifax file, and not the others.
Don F
That’s interesting Sam. Is the lock/unlock the same thing as a freeze? Or are alert, lock, and freeze all different levels of credit security?