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How to Report Credit Card Fraud

Identity theft is the most common and, by far, the most dangerous credit card fraud a cardholder may experience. Identity theft refers to the fraudulent use of your personal information (e.g. birth date and Social Insurance Number) with the purpose of committing financial fraud.

Credit card fraud may occur when the card is lost or stolen, when you give your personal information to unfamiliar individuals, and when mail is diverted from you as the intended recipient. If you notice unauthorized charges to your credit card, you have to take immediate action. Keep in mind that at times, criminals make counterfeit cards with the account number of the victim. As a victim of identity theft, you wonít be held liable for the criminal actions committed on your behalf. However, it takes some time and effort to prove the fraud and sort out the financial chaos that is caused by such crimes. This guide discusses the steps a cardholder needs to take in order to report a credit card fraud. You can minimize the damages a credit card fraud may incur.

Step One - Get in Touch with Your Issuer

You need to notify your credit card issuer or your bank about the credit card fraud and ask them to block your accounts. They will give you a credit card with a different number. Keep in mind that some credit card companies may charge a fee to issue a duplicate of a lost or stolen credit card. When you notify your credit card issuer that your card has been stolen or lost, they could put a fraud alert on it.

Step Two - Ask for Credit Report

When you find out that youíve fallen victim to some kind of credit card fraud, the first you need do is to call one of the big credit agencies and ask for a free credit report. Note that oftentimes, harmful changes of your credit card balance do not appear immediately in your monthly statement.

Step Three - File Report with Local Police Station

After you have obtained a credit report which proves a credit card fraud has been committed against you, you need to file a report of a lost or stolen credit card with the local police station. In many places, you may simply call the police station and they will file the report for you. Do not forget to ask for a copy of the police report once it has been signed by the officer in charge. Bear in mind that as a rule, the local authorities will investigate crimes in order of importance. Donít expect that a whole police squad is working on your case day and night.

Step Four - Track Balance Changes

You have to call the phone number on the back of your credit card and ask the operator to track all charges made to the cardís balance.

Step five - Report to FTA

US residents may also report a credit fraud to the Federal Trade Commission, which is required to give them useful information as regards the record of their recent credit card transactions.

A Word of Advice

A point should be made about personal responsibility. Every cardholder is responsible for keeping his or her banking information safe and secure. Do not share your personal identification number with anyone. Donít write the number of your credit card in an email or any other letter. Finally, once you start a procedure toward reporting a credit card fraud, make sure that you give the investigating authorities only the personal information that you are required to. Sharing too much with various agencies may have some unwanted consequences.