Thoughts On Fraud And Identity Theft

Mark Rosenberg

July 21, 2016

1. What to do if your credit, ATM, or debit card is lost, stolen, or used fraudulently. If you lose a card or if you notice a fraudulent charge on your statement, call your card issuer immediately to let them know. The Federal Trade Commission recommends that you also write a letter to the card issuer to confirm when you reported the problem by phone. Send your letter by certified mail and ask for a return receipt. Keep records of all of your communications.

2. How to protect your credit, ATM, and debit cards and account info. The Federal Trade Commission offers these tips:

  • Do not tell anyone your account number over the phone unless you are the one who made the call.
  • Keep your account information private. Do not leave it out where others can see it.
  • Be prepared to report a loss quickly by keeping a record of your account numbers, expiration dates, and each card issuer’s telephone number.
  • Cut up your old cards before you throw them away.
  • Commit your PIN to memory. Do not carry a written copy of it with your card.
  • Review your statements promptly and report discrepancies to your card issuer immediately.
  • Check your account activity periodically, especially if you bank online.

3. What to do if your identity is stolen. If you suspect that someone is using your personal information fraudulently, the Federal Trade Commission recommends that you do three things immediately:

  • Place an initial fraud alert by contacting one of the three credit reporting companies: Equifax (1-800-525-6285), Experian (1-888-397-3742), or Trans- Union (1-800-680-7289).
  • Order credit reports from the three credit reporting companies and review them for signs of fraud.
  • Create an identity theft report. This involves submitting a complaint to the FTC and filing a police report.

The website can guide you through the steps you may need to take to recover your identity.

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