How Card Issuers Investigate Fraudulent Charges
Once a suspected fraud transaction is noticed, your credit card issuer may cancel your card, send you a replacement and start a fraud investigation. It may also refund the amount back to your account. Even if it doesn’t immediately issue a refund, you’re not responsible for disputed amounts during the investigation.
A credit card fraud investigation could take up to 90 days, during which time the credit card issuer may contact the merchant that charged your card to get more details about the transaction. The card issuer may request copies of a police report or receipts to compare signatures if they’re available.
Card issuers and merchants may also look for “friendly fraud,” which is when a cardholder makes a purchase and then disputes it as fraudeven though it wasn’t.
If fraud has occurred, the outcome of the investigation will also help the merchant and credit card issuer settle who is responsible for covering the fraudulent purchase . Either way, you won’t pay anything if your card’s payment network provides $0 fraud liability.
Use The Id Theft Affidavit
Creditors may ask you to fill out fraud affidavits. The Federal Trade Commissions ID Theft Affidavit is accepted by the credit bureaus and by most major creditors. Send copies of the completed form to creditors where the thief opened accounts in your name. Also send copies to creditors where the thief made charges on your account, to the credit bureaus, and to the police. The form is available on the FTC Web site at ww.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/resources/forms/affidavit.pdf. File a complaint of identity theft with the FTC. See their Web site at www.consumer.gov/idtheft The FTC keeps a database of identity theft cases that is used by many law enforcement agencies.
Protect Your Information Online And Off
Shred any piece of paper that has your credit card number on it, and don’t write down your card number anywhere that thieves might be able to access it.
Also, be vigilant about protecting your card use online by only filling out card information on websites you trust. You can look for the lock icon in your browser’s address bar to be sure you’re buying from a secure site.
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How To Protect Yourself From Credit Card Fraud
While fraud is frightening, there are simple steps you can take to preserve your credit and financial wellbeing. These include:
- Checking your credit report at least once a year: Look into your directly from TransUnion and Equifax at least once every year. Ensure that all the charges are accurate. If you suspect foul play, take action.
- Keeping your pin and passwords safe: It is important to never share your passwords or your pin number. This offers a basic level of security and prevents many issues if your card is lost or stolen.
- Use your information responsibly: In general, do not issue personal information over the phone or the internet. This includes, but isnt limited to, your date of birth, social insurance number, credit card details, and address. If you are in doubt as to whether to provide the information, wait, check their credentials, and either call back or return to the website when you are certain of its ethical nature. Its always best to be cautious.
Identity Theft Victim Checklist
This checklist can help identity theft victims clear up their records. It lists the actions most identity theft victims should take to limit the damage done by the thief. For more information, see the Web sites of the Federal Trade Commission at , the Identity Theft Resource Center at www.idtheftcenter.org, and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse at www.privacyrights.org
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How To Identify An Investment Scam
Investment scams can come to you via a phone call or email. It may even be an offer from someone you trust. There are three main types of investment scams:
- the investment offer is totally fictitious and does not exist
- the investment offer exists but the money you give the scammer is not going towards that investment
- the scammer says they are representing a well-known investment company but they are lying
Example of a fake investment offer
Organised crime groups are targeting the retirement savings of middle-aged and older Australians with sophisticated fraud operations. Criminals claiming to be investment brokers initially make contact with victims by phone. They build a rapport through regular contact over the phone and by email and create a perception of legitimacy through:
- professional looking websites
- personal accounts for victims with login access
- regular reports of a strong return on investment
- media releases and in some cases
- professional-looking documents delivered via courier
For more examples visit www.moneysmart.gov.au
Contact The Credit Bureaus
- Reach out to one of the three bureaus confirm your identity and ask for a free fraud alert to be linked to your report. Once the alert is placed, it will become much harder for fraudsters to use your information maliciously. Note that you only need to order a fraud alert with one bureau: the others will be notified automatically.
- You can extend the default fraud alert lifespan to seven years, but you’ll need a police report or the Federal Trade Commission report to do this.
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Reporting Your Incident To Police
It is important to note that you should immediately contact local law enforcement as soon as you realize you have been victimized by a credit card fraudster. This accomplishes three things
- Establishing a case number that you will need later on
- Alerting your credit card issuer to the fraud and establishing your limited liability in the matter
- The credit card issuer will then put quick credit cut off-limits in place to foil any further attempts on your card
That is the upside. The downside to this matter is that it can take up to a year to catch and prosecute these fraudsters.
Protecting Yourself From Credit Card Fraud
The growing prevalence of credit card fraud means there’s no surefire way to avoid becoming a victim, but common-sense precautions can help you avoid it:
- Guard your wallet or purse carefully when you’re out and about, and don’t leave credit cards unattended.
- Keep credit cards you don’t use in a safe place at home, instead of carrying them with you, and never carry your Social Security card unless you must , and put it back in safekeeping when you’re done using it.
- When shopping online, make sure the website is secure , and skip the option of storing your card number at the website.
- If asked to provide a credit card number, Social Security number or other personal information over the phone, verify you are talking to a person or company you trust. If the request comes from someone who called you, ask yourself if the organization they claim to represent should already have the information they seek. If in doubt, insist on calling them back and use a verifiable number.
- Take a look at the Experian Fraud FAQ and Fraud Alert Center for more information and tips on protecting yourself from credit card fraud. Experian will offer support by providing a free copy of your credit report, investigating disputed credit report information, and if fraud is verified, remove the information from your credit report.
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Monitor And Protect Your Identity
Credit card fraud can be one of the many consequences of having your personal information stolen. Monitoring your credit reports and accounts can help you respond quickly, while a more robust identity monitoring service like Experian IdentityWorksSM can offer additional protections, such as dark web surveillance and address change verification. And if something does happen, the service comes with the lost wallet assistance, identity theft insurance and fraud resolution services.
There Is A Much Better Way
When you have been victimized by a credit card fraudster, it is hard to keep your focus and do what needs to be done. Your immediate thoughts are, of course, trying to stop the fraud in its tracks.
Sometimes you just need the right information to get you started. That is where the services of DoNotPay come to your rescue.
Let’s look at how you can learn more about credit card fraud using DoNotPay.
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What Should You Do If Youve Been A Victim Of Bank Card Or Cheque Fraud
- Immediately report lost or stolen cards or suspected fraudulent use of your card to your card company. You should also report lost or stolen cheque books or any missing cheques. Banks and companies have 24-hour emergency numbers printed on account statements.
- Report the offence to the relevant bank or card company, which will then be responsible for reporting the matter to the police. If the theft of your cards or cheques involved another crime for example, if your bag was also stolen you should make sure it is reported to the police.
- If a fraudulent account has been set up in your name and you dont have a relationship with that bank or card company, you can report the fraud directly to Action Fraud.
- Remember to keep a record of all communications.
- Get a copy of your personal credit report from one of the credit reference agencies:
Shopping And Auction Site Fraud
Many people use the Internet to buy things through online shops or auctions. With some simple precautions, this can be a safe and convenient way to shop.
When you buy something from an Internet auction site, you are purchasing from an individual or company, not the auction house. Once the bidding has finished, negotiations about payment and delivery take place between the purchaser and seller. Regarding online transactions, it is advisable to select an escrow service yourself rather than accept advice from the seller. Do not click on links to banking or escrow services provided in emails as these may lead to fraudulent sites.
The auction house will usually adopt a policy of not taking legal responsibility for any loss that is suffered from using their service. Goods bought at auction are not covered by statutory warranties under the Trade Practices Act. The seller’s only obligation is to give clear title.
It is therefore important to take care when using online auction sites. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission provides useful advice for using online auction sites or conducting transactions over the internet.
The following general advice is a good start:
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Reporting The Credit Card Fraud To Law Enforcement
If you’ve confirmed that you’re a victim of credit card fraud, you may want to report the crime to law enforcement. To begin this process, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s IdentityTheft.gov website. The site will then give you the opportunity to file an identity theft report, which is used by law enforcement agencies in their investigation. You can then follow up with local law enforcement, as advised by your creditors.
Not every case of identity theft necessitates getting the police involved, but doing so can help assist in investigations of theft and might help you recover belongings that were stolen along with your credit cards.
How Filing A Report Helps Protect You
Why is it important to report identity theft? If you are a victim of identity theft, it means someone has taken your personal information and used it to commit fraud in your name.
Heres how filing a report helps:
- It acts as a declaration of your innocence.
- It helps start the investigation.
A police report serves as sworn statement that you were not responsible for any crimes the thief committed using your name. If someone accuses you of a crime committed in your name, you can show them your sworn statement.
Filing an Identity Theft Report at IdentityTheft.gov serves a similar function, in most cases. Its an official statement about the crime.
Important to note: The FTC recommends filing an Identity Theft Report first, and including it when you file a police report.
Keep in mind, with either report, youre legally obligated to tell the truth to the best of your knowledge. If you dont, you could face criminal penalties.
Steps to take when reporting ID theft to the police
If you decide you want to report identity theft to the police, here are steps you can take.
- A copy of your FTC Identity Theft Report
- A government-issued photo ID
- Proof of your address, such as a mortgage statement or utilities bill
- Any proof you have of the theft, such as credit card statements, IRS notices or collection notices
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Report The Crime To The Police
Under California law, you can report identity theft to your local police department.1 Ask the police to issue a police report of identity theft. Give the police as much information on the theft as possible. One way to do this is to provide copies of your credit reports showing the items related to identity theft. Black out other items not related to identity theft. Give the police any new evidence you collect to add to your report. Be sure to get a copy of your police report. You will need to give copies to creditors and the credit bureaus. For more information, see Organizing Your Identity Theft Case” by the Identity Theft Resource Center, available at
Are You Liable For Unauthorized Charges On Your Credit Card
One fear when you see unauthorized charges on your credit card is that you might be liable for those charges. Luckily, the Fair Credit Billing Act limits your liability. Specifically, the Federal Trade Commission notes that:
Under the FCBA, your liability for unauthorized use of your credit card tops out at $50. However, if you report the loss before your credit card is used, the FCBA says you are not responsible for any charges you didnt authorize. If your credit card number is stolen, but not the card, you are not liable for unauthorized use.
In other words, if you keep your physical card in your possession or youre able to report that your card is stolen before its actually used, you wont be liable for any charges. Even if the physical card is stolen and charges are made before you report the theft to your card issuer, youll only be liable up to $50. In fact, many cards go a step farther by offering a fraud liability benefit that means you wont be responsible for any unauthorized charges if your card is lost or stolen.
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How To File A Fraud Report With Police
Reporting fraud, from embezzlement to identity theft, is important for two reasons: it can help you as a victim recover personal losses, and it can prevent other people from falling victim to the same scheme. Sometimes, whether because of the high volume of fraud reports or because your local police force is ill-equipped to deal with such cases, filing a fraud report with local authorities can be difficult. Still, you should always report a crime, including fraud, to the local police, as a police report will help protect you in the future. If you’re the victim of a fraud, close your affected bank accounts and credit cards, file a report with the Federal Trade Commission , place an alert on your credit report and begin the process of filing a police report with your local law enforcement agency.
The Three Credit Reporting Agencies
Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are the three major U.S. credit reporting agencies. Each of them collects information about you and how you use credit, as well as whether any business has turned your debt over to a collections agency or youve filed for bankruptcy. Because the agencies are so involved in your credit activity, its important to notify them if your identity has been stolenas identity theft can lead to abuse of your credit, and you want to try to keep that from happening.
|MAJOR U.S. CREDIT REPORTING AGENCIES|
TransUnion Fraud Victim Assistance DeptP.O. Box 2000Chester, PA 19016
Types Of Credit Card Fraud
- Lost or stolen cards
A card may be picked up and used after falling from your pocket, or get taken from your wallet or mailbox. Both of these situations are considered fraud.
- Account takeovers
Takeovers occur when a fraudster contacts your card issuer and pretends to be you, then orders a new card to their address.
- Counterfeit cards
Electronic devices, like skimmers, can be used by fraudsters to copy your card information when they use it to debit your account, and then reprint it on another card.
- “Card Not Present” transactions
If a fraudster acquires your card number and uses it without the physical card present-e.g., in an online purchase-this constitutes a CNP transaction.
- Falsified credit applications
Many card issuers mail out “pre-approved” credit card offers. A fraudster can intercept one of these offers and complete it to get a new card in their name. While credit card applications from major card issuers will require many different proofs of identity to finalize approval and prevent fraudsters from opening these pre-approved lines of credit, victims of identity theft should review their credit report regularly to avoid fraud.