What To Do If Youre A Victim Of Credit Card Fraud
Contact your financial institution immediately if your credit card is lost or stolen. Contact it if you find payments on your credit card statement that you didnt make or approve.
If you think youre a victim of credit card fraud:
- write down what happened and how you first noticed the fraud
- contact your credit card issuer to tell them about the fraud
- take notes of who you talked to and when you spoke to them
- keep all documents that you think might be helpful when the police investigate the fraud
- contact your local police service to file a complaint
- contact other accounts that could be tampered with by the person
Reporting The Credit Card Fraud To Law Enforcement
If youve confirmed that youre a victim of credit card fraud, you may want to report the crime to law enforcement. To begin this process, visit the Federal Trade Commissions 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.
If Someone Uses Your Social Security Number To Claim Unemployment Benefits Or To Work
If you suspect that someone else has claimed unemployment benefits using your Social Security number, call the California Employment Development Departments toll-free Fraud Hotline at 1-800-229-6297. For more information, see their Web site at www.edd.ca.gov. Search on the site for “fraud.” Sometimes, an identity thief will use someone elses Social Security number to be eligible to work. Its a good idea to check your Social Security earnings record to see if income earned by a thief is being posted to your account. You can get a copy of your earnings record by calling 1-800-772-1213. Or get a Request for Social Security Statement at www.ssa.gov/online/ssa-7004.html. If you believe a thief is using your Social Security number to work or claim Social Security benefits, call the Social Security Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271. Or report Social Security benefits fraud online at www.ssa.gov/oig/hotline/index.htm..
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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
S To Take If Youve Lost Your Credit Card
If you lose your credit card, notify your bank immediately. Upon notification, the bank should cancel your lost credit card and reissue a new one.
Other things you can do:
- regularly monitor your credit card statements for any transactions that you didn’t make
- carry your cards in a safe place
- keep a list of your bank and credit card numbers in a safe place at home for reference purposes
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How To Protect Your Credit Card Information Offline
- Always sign the back of your credit card instead of writing Check ID or See ID.
- Dont provide your credit card information over the phone unless you have initiated the call or you trust the party or retailer.
- Review receipts before signing and save them instead of throwing them away.
- Shred receipts after youve reconciled your monthly billing statement.
Filing A Police Report For Fraud
After reporting the matter to the FTC, call your local police and tell them youd like to file a fraud report. Ask them if its possible to do so in person at the station. If not, ask how you can file by phone or online and take notes on their instructions. If you go into the station to file, bring a copy of your FTC report and any supporting documentation, such as your bank statements or correspondence you may have received from the thief or companies the thief has dealt with. Fill out the forms given to you by the police and ask them to attach the copy of the FTC report to your police report.
Ask for a copy of your police report. Hold on to your report as proof of fraudulent activity on your accounts and credit report. If the police cannot offer you a copy of the police report, as is the case in some jurisdictions, have the officer sign your FTC complaint form and list the police report number in the Law Enforcement Report portion of the complaint form.
If your local police are unwilling to take a fraud report, try filling out a Miscellaneous Incident report. Then contact your states attorney general to see if your state requires local police to take fraud reports. Your states attorney general may also have a special task force to combat fraud, and his office may be able to refer you to another jurisdiction, such as the state police, to file your report. Read More:Procedure for Filing a Police Report
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Write To The Credit Bureaus
Write a letter to each credit bureau. Repeat what you said in your telephone call . Send copies of your police report and completed ID Theft Affidavit. Remind the credit bureaus that they must block or remove any information that you, as an identity theft victim, say is a result of the theft. Send your letters by certified mail, return receipt requested. Keep a copy of each letter. See the Sample Letter to Credit Bureaus on page 7.
P.O. Box 2000Chester, PA 19016
I’m A Victim Of Fraud What Should I Do
If you’re a victim of fraud and have provided personal information and/or lost money:
- Stay calm. Gather all information about the fraud, including documents, receipts, and/or copies of emails and/or text messages.
- Place flags on all of your accounts.
- Change all of your passwords.
- Report the fraud to both credit bureaus .
- Contact the HRPS Fraud Intake Office by dialing , or by dialing .
- Report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre toll free at .
- Depending on the type of fraud, or how it occurred, you’ll also want to report it to other organizations.
The HRPS does not accept fraud reports through online reporting or via email.
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If You Are Contacted By A Debt Collector
Tell the debt collector that you are the victim of identity theft. Say that you dispute the validity of the debt. Say that you did not create the debt and are not responsible for it. Send the collector a follow-up letter saying the same things. Include a copy of your police report and of any documents youve received from the creditor. Write in your letter that you are giving notice to a claimant under California Civil Code section 1798.93, subsection that a situation of identity theft exists. Send the letter by certified mail, return receipt requested. If the debt collector is not the original creditor, be sure to send your letter within 30 days of receiving the collectors first written demand for payment.
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
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What Is Identity Theft
Identity Theft occurs when someone uses your personally identifying information like your name, Social Security number, or credit card number without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. According to the Federal Trade Commission, approximately 9 million Americans have their identity stolen each year. Identity thieves may use your personally identifying information to establish lines of credit, bank accounts, credit card accounts and other forms of credit. You may not find out your identity has been compromised until you receive a bill in the mail or are contacted by a debt collector.
Should You File A Police Report After Identity Theft
Through April 20, 2022, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax will offer all U.S. consumers free weekly credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com to help you protect your financial health during the sudden and unprecedented hardship caused by COVID-19.
In this article:
If you believe you’re a victim of identity theft, there are several steps you need to take to help rectify the situation. But is filing a police report one of them? You should file a police report after identity theft if you can provide evidence for the investigation, know the person or group responsible for the theft, or are asked for a report by a creditor or other entity.
Depending on how and what type of information is stolen, scammers may use your identity to siphon money from your financial accounts, open new accounts such as credit cards or phone plans, commit tax fraud, or apply for government benefits. In 2020, 1.4 million Americans filed identity theft reports, according to the Federal Trade Commission, a 29% increase over the previous year. The most common form of ID theft involved scammers using stolen information to apply for or receive government benefits, such as unemployment insurance.
Read on to find out the steps you need to take if you’re a victim of identity theft, and when a police report may be necessary to help resolve the issue.
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Report Identity Theft To Other Organizations
You can also report the theft to other organizations, such as:
Credit Reporting Agencies – Contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies to place a fraud alert or freeze on your credit report. Also get copies of your credit reports, to be sure that no one has already tried to get unauthorized credit accounts with your personal information. Confirm that the credit reporting agency will alert the other two credit reporting agencies.
National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center – Report cases of identity theft due to a stay in a nursing home or long-term care facility.
Financial Institutions – Contact the fraud department at your bank, credit card issuers and any other places where you have accounts.
Retailers and Other Companies – Report the crime to companies where the identity thief opened credit accounts or even applied for jobs.
State Attorney General Offices – Your state’s attorney general might offer tips, checklists, or an advocate to help you recover from identity theft. These resources don’t replace filing an ID theft report with the FTC.
You may need to get new personal records or identification cards if you’re the victim of ID theft. Learn how to replace your vital identification documents after identity theft.
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How Do I Report Immigration Fraud
Call the Canada Border Services Agency Border Watch Toll-Free Line at 1-888-502-9060 to report:
- suspicious activity at the border
- a marriage of convenience
- a person who has given false information on any immigration application or
- a person wanted on an immigration warrant
What you tell the tip line is private. Your identity stays protected.
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.
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When Do I Need To Report Identity Theft To The Police
There are many different forms of fraud and identity theft, and some warrant a police report more than others. Local law enforcement may be somewhat limited when investigating an internet crime or large data breach, and a police report may not be required for certain types of identity-related crimes. You should file a police report in the following situations:
- You know who committed the identity theft.
- You can provide specific information that may be able to help the police investigation.
- Your identity was used fraudulently in an encounter with the police.
- A creditor or other entity requires a police report as part of their investigation.
While not always required, filing a police report can potentially help the authorities catch and stop the person or group committing the crimes. Additionally, some creditors or companies may require you to obtain a police report in order to help you fix the damage.
If Your Mail Was Stolen Or Your Address Changed By An Identity Thief
Notify the Postal Inspector if you think an identity thief has stolen your mail or filed a change of address request in your name. To find the nearest Postal Inspector, look in the white pages of the telephone book for the Post Office listing under United States Government. Or go to the Postal Inspection Services Web site at www.usps.gov/websites/depart/inspect.
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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 doesnt immediately issue a refund, youre 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 theyre 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 wasnt.
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 wont pay anything if your cards payment network provides $0 fraud liability.
Important Steps To Take If You Notice Any Red Flags
- Request a free credit report.
- Visit AnnualCreditReport.com which has data from the major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
- File an Identity Theft Report with the FTC.
- Report the Identity Theft to the Credit Bureaus.
- Consider a credit freeze.
- Notify your cellular carrier to prevent SIM swapping.
- Consider canceling all your bank accounts and credit cards.
- Immediately change the usernames and passwords to your online accounts.
Consider A Credit Freeze
The strongest protection against new accounts being opened in your name is a credit freeze, also called a security freeze. A freeze means that your file cannot be shared with potential creditors, insurers, employers, or residential landlords without your permission. For more information, see our CIS 10: How to Freeze Your Credit Files.