Credit card fraud is the unauthorized use of a credit/debit card, or card number, to fraudulently obtain money or goods and services. Scam artists can obtain vital information to access your card from unsecure Websites or from many different identity theft schemes. All three credit bureaus can provide more information on credit card fraud and guidance on how to place a fraud alert on your credit report. They are:
Who to Contact
If you feel that you have been the victim of credit card fraud, you should follow these steps.
- Contact your credit card company and close any affected accounts.
- Contact the company where the card was used and report the unauthorized use. Follow-up with a letter and save a copy for yourself.
- Change and use different account passwords.
- Place fraud alerts on your credit reports and get copies. Make these requests for fraud alerts in writing and keep copies for yourself. To request a fraud alert, contact:
- Equifax (800) 525-6285,
- Experian (888) 397-3742, and/or
- TransUnion (800) 680-7289.
- Contact the proper authorities. You should file a complaint with your local police department and get a copy of the police report to notify your bank, credit card company, and other creditors that you are a victim of a crime. In addition, if you are a victim of any type of identity theft, you can report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission at (877) ID-THEFT.
Tips for Preventing
- Only provide your credit card number online to secure and reputable Internet sites.
- Never respond to e-mails or click on Web links from your bank or credit card company requesting you to enter your account number and password. These e-mails and Web links may be designed to capture your personal financial information and give a fraudster access to your accounts.
- Always sign your credit cards as soon as you receive them.
- Properly store or discard credit card and bank statements.
- Never write your PIN numbers on your cards.
- Securely store credit card information and numbers to be able to quickly report lost and stolen cards.
- Review your credit reports annually.
- Promptly reconcile credit card and bank statements for unauthorized use.