What Is the Difference Between a Fraud Alert and a Credit Freeze?

Blog Post12/05/2018
Identity Protection
Difference Between What Is the a Fraud Alert and a Credit Freeze?

Considering a fraud alert or credit freeze? Not sure what the distinction is between the two?  A fraud alert and a credit freeze are both great ways to help you protect your personal data. These powerful tools can help you steer clear of identity theft or prevent you from further identity theft if you’ve already been a victim. A fraud alert and credit freeze make it more difficult for anyone, including fraudsters, to apply for credit using your info.

So, how do they differ? A fraud alert will tell creditors to take extra precautions when verifying a credit application by calling you directly. A fraud alert will last for one year and we will automatically notify Experian and Equifax that you have placed a fraud alert so they can add a fraud alert to the report they have for you. With a credit freeze, new creditors will not be able to view your credit report, period. This provides you with more control of who has access to your information. A credit freeze will remain on your credit report until you choose to remove it. You will need to notify Experian and Equifax on your own to freeze your reports with them.

How do I know which one is right for me?

If you are seeking increased control over your personal information then you likely want to freeze your credit report. If you don’t want to completely block access to your credit report, but still want to add an extra security measure, a fraud alert may be right for you. For the ultimate protection, you can also choose to have both a fraud alert and a credit freeze on your report. The choice is yours!

How do I actually place a credit freeze or fraud alert?

Our credit freeze webpage allows you to freeze your credit on the web or you can download the app, myTransUnion, in the Google Play or Apple app store and freeze right from your phone. Our fraud alert page allows you to easily add a fraud alert online, you may also update your phone number there. It is important to keep your phone number current, as this is the number creditors will call to verify you are the one who just applied for credit.


Think of a freeze or fraud alert like a fortress for your personal data. They strengthen your defense but aren’t impenetrable, so it’s still important to regularly monitor your credit.

Disclaimer: The information posted to this blog was accurate at the time it was initially published. We do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. The information contained in the TransUnion blog is provided for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. You should consult your own attorney or financial adviser regarding your particular situation. For complete details of any product mentioned, visit transunion.com. This site is governed by the TransUnion Interactive privacy policy located here.