How to Report Credit Card Fraud

Suspicious activity or unrecognized charges on your credit card statement might be signs of identity theft. If you believe you are the victim of credit card fraud, it is imperative to act quickly. Identity theft and accounted for more than 13 percent of consumer complaints registered with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2014. [1]

Steps Edit

Method One of Four:
Notifying Your Card Issuer Edit

Call your card issuer. Call immediately as soon as you suspect fraudulent activity. The toll free number of your credit card issuer can be found on the back of your credit card. If your card has been lost or stolen, refer to this list of credit issuers’ contact information published by CreditCards.com. [2]

  • Once you notify your card issuer, they will initiate an investigation. Your card issuer will also contact merchants and reverse any fraudulent charges. You are not responsible for any charges that occur once you report the fraud. [3]
  • Federal law states that if you are unable to report a lost or stolen card before it is used, you can only be held liable for up to $50 of fraudulent charges.

Follow up with written notification. Send a letter to your credit card issuer. Include your credit card number and the date you initially filed the report. If your card was lost or stolen, reference the date in the letter. If your found suspicious or fraudulent activity on your statement, report that information in the letter. [4]

Complete a credit card fraud affidavit. The credit card issuer will may send you a fraud affidavit. If they don’t, complete an FTC Identity Theft Affidavit. This is a formal statement of the facts surrounding your case. [5] You will need this affidavit when reporting the fraud to the police and to the credit reporting agencies. [6]

  • Sign and date the form in the presence of a law enforcement officer or a notary. [7]
  • The affidavit will ask for personal information, such as your name, address and Social Security number.
  • You will be asked to report information about the fraud, such as the name of the person who used your credit card (if you know it) and any other information you know about the crime.

Method Two of Four:
Filing a Police Report Edit

Contact the police department in the city where you live. You can go to the police station or ask for an officer to come to your home. Provide any relevant information you know about the credit card fraud. Be prepared to share your personal information and to provide your contact information. [8]

  • You do not have to pay any fees to file a police report.
  • You will need your credit card fraud affidavit. Use the one provided by your card issuer or the FTC Identity Theft Affidavit.
  • Have a government-issued photo identification with you, such as a driver’s license.
  • Bring proof of your address, such as a copy of your mortgage statement or a utilities bill.
  • Submit proof of the theft, such as credit card statements or IRS notices.

Keep a copy of the police report and the case number. Ask for a copy of the police report to keep for your records. The police department will issue a case number for your report. Refer to the case number if you have to contact the police about your case. [9]

Understand why filing a police report is necessary. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) recommends filing a police report. The police may not be instrumental in identifying the person who committed the fraud. However, filing a report firmly establishes your innocence should you need to contest charges down the road. In addition, filing a police report notifies law enforcement authorities about financial crimes that are occurring in the area. [10]

Method Three of Four:
Contacting the Credit Bureaus Edit

Place a fraud alert with one of the three credit reporting bureaus. The three credit reporting bureaus are TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. You only need to contact one of them. Once you do, that agency will contact the other two. [11]

  • Visit Equifax Credit Report Assistance. or call 1-888-766-0008.
  • Go to the Experian Fraud Center. or call 1-888-397-3742.
  • Go to the TransUnion Fraud Alert page, or call 1-800-680-7289.
  • The credit reporting agencies will send you a letter to verify that the fraud alert has been placed on your file.
  • Placing a fraud alert is free. It remains on your file for 90 days.
  • A fraud alert protects you because it requires businesses to contact you before issuing credit in your name. [12]

Obtain a copy of your credit report. Placing a fraud alert entitles you to a free copy of your credit report. Follow the directions on your fraud alert confirmation to obtain your credit report.

  • You can also get a free credit report once per year from annualcreditreport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228.
  • If you have already received your free credit report, you can pay any of the credit reporting agencies to receive an immediate copy of your credit report. [13]

Review your credit report. Note any unusual or suspicious activity. Look for unauthorized transactions on your credit card accounts. Report any unauthorized credit activity to the credit issuer. Use information from your credit report when completing your police report and your report to the FTC. [14]

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