How to Deal With Credit Card Fraud

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Using credit cards, particularly for online purchases, puts you at a greater risk for credit card fraud. Fortunately, there are a number of steps that you can take to minimize the risk, such as paying close attention to the websites where you give your credit card information and protecting your passwords and other personal information. If you become a victim of credit card fraud, legally, your liability is limited to $50 per card (though your bank may waive this). However, fraud can be extremely disruptive. The sooner you deal with it, the better.

Close your accounts. Contact each one of your banks and inform them that you believe you are a victim of credit card fraud. Ask them if you need to follow up in writing.

Change all of your online passwords. Don’t use names or birth dates as these can be easily hacked.

Place a fraud alert on your credit report. Contact each of the credit bureaus: Equifax at (800) 525-6285, Experian at (888) 397-3742, and TransUnion at (800) 680-7289). Request that they put an alert on your account. This will alert any lenders to contact your personally prior to extending credit. The fraud alert will remain in effect for 90 days. Once it expires, you may choose to place a long-term fraud alert on your account. Request copies of your credit report. You are allowed one free report from each bureau annually. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com (see Resources section) or call (877) 322-8228 to request your free report.

File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by calling (877) 438-4338. Ask if you need to take any additional steps.

File a police report. Remember that a crime has occurred. Provide as much information about the perpetrator as you can, assuming you have any.

Follow up with your bank to see what legal action, if any, has been taken. You may need to submit a fraud affidavit. Make sure that there is nothing else that you need to do. If you have not already done so, ask them to consider waiving the $50 liability.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep copies of everything. Print out email correspondence related to the fraud. Document all phone conversations in a notepad.

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