I was just notified by my mother that her purse was stolen. She advised me that she has always maintained my social security number and full name in her purse. Upon receipt of the news, I initiated a fraud alert with all three credit agencies.
First, I looked at the Lifelock service. The service offers the convenience of never having to renew your fraud alert and provides up to $1 million in identity theft insurance for $10 per month.
Before ordering the service, I figured I'd try the manual route of initiating a fraud alert. A quick google search of "how to initiate a fraud alert" will give you all the info you need. I quickly came across a site that listed the toll free numbers of all consumer credit agency fraud departments. Reluctant to just work from that personal finance site's info alone, I did a google search of the toll free number restricting my search to just Equifax.com.
Here's the Equifax Fraud Dept number: 800-525-6285
You can confirm the number by going to Google and typing the search string:
Reporting the fraud alert w/ Equifax is done via voice prompts. During the process, Equifax states that if your fraud alert filing is successful, then Equifax will automatically file the fraud alert with the other two agencies (TransUnion & Experian). From start to completion, my entire phone call was just four minutes.
The principal issue with manually initiating a fraud alert is that fraud alerts expire after 90 days. Every 90 days you'll have to redo the fraud alert. I figure that four minutes every three months is a great investment compared with $30 for Lifelock's insurance plus automated fraud alert renewal system.
When I go to work tomorrow i'll program my Microsoft Office calender to automatically remind me every 90 days.