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

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

Considering a credit freeze or a fraud alert? Not sure what the distinction is between the two? A credit freeze and a fraud alert are both great, free ways to help you prevent identity theft and protect your personal data. When you place a credit freeze or a fraud alert, it makes it more difficult for anyone, including fraudsters, to apply for credit using your information.

So, how do they differ? With a credit freeze, new lenders will not be able to view your credit report. This gives you more control of who can access your information. A credit freeze will stay on your credit report until you choose to remove it. You will need to notify Equifax and Experian on your own to freeze your credit with them.

A fraud alert doesn’t prevent new lenders from viewing your credit report, but it does notify them to take extra precaution, such as calling you directly, when verifying a credit application. An initial fraud alert lasts for one year. When you place one with TransUnion, we’ll automatically notify Equifax and Experian so they also can add a fraud alert to the report they have for you.

Is a credit freeze or fraud alert right for me?

If you want more control over your personal information, you may want to freeze your credit. If you don’t want to block access to your credit report, but still want to add an extra security measure, an initial fraud alert may be right for you. For additional protection, you can also opt to place both a fraud alert and a credit freeze. The choice is yours.

How to freeze your credit

To quickly and easily add a freeze to your TransUnion credit report, visit our credit freeze webpage. When you’re ready to apply for new credit, you’ll need to come back and unfreeze your credit so lenders will be able to access your credit report.

How to add a fraud alert

Visit our fraud alert webpage to easily add a TransUnion fraud alert online. There, you also can update the phone number you want associated with your fraud alert. It’s important to keep your phone number current since lenders will call the listed number when they need to verify you’ve applied for credit.

Consider monitoring your credit

Think of a credit freeze or fraud alert like a wall around for your personal data. These free tools help strengthen your defense, but aren’t impenetrable. Regularly monitoring your credit is another way to help you identify any potential fraudulent activity. TransUnion Credit Monitoring offers online access to your credit report and score, email alerts when something critical changes on your report or someone applies for credit in your name, and identity theft insurance.

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 This site is governed by the TransUnion Interactive privacy policy located here.

What You Need to Know:

There are various types of credit scores, and lenders use a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions. The credit score you receive is based on the VantageScore 3.0 model and may not be the credit score model used by your lender.

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