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Reporting Credit Card Fraud

Reporting Credit Card Fraud

There are several ways one can report a credit card fraud depending on the amount of such a transaction and the geography. Various agencies like the FBI, FTC, etc., help in preventing such acts. Scroll down to know more...
Shrinivas Kanade
The concept of 'value or worth' which we presently express as 'money' has always been associated with the concept of 'fraud and deceit'. As money changed its form from valuables that could be bartered to precious stones, metal coins, paper money, and finally to digital form, fraud kept its pace. When we use a credit or debit card to carry out our transactions, we use digital money. If one fails to take precautions while using it, one may get exposed to various frauds. Every year, credit card companies and their customers lose billions of dollars due to such incidences, which makes reporting a fraud imperative. When it happens to you, reporting it immediately is the only way to limit the damage to your credit and investment. Even though the penalties for credit card fraud are steep (20 years maximum), greed and thought of easy money drives people to commit such acts.

If you find that your credit card account has been charged with amounts for purchases you haven't commissioned, or that you have lost or had your card stolen, inform your credit card company immediately and report the fraud. This may prevent it from happening to you or others again. Your report will discharge you of the liability for the deceitful transactions made with your card.

Most companies provide a toll free number and round-the-clock service to help their customers overcome such emergencies. During such a situation, one should inform the bank or company, which enables them to freeze the account. Once the loss of card is reported; lost or stolen, the law says, the person is not responsible to repay the fraudulent charges to the credit card company. If it is reported on the same day, second day, and third day, the maximum liability in such a scenario is $50, $100, $500 per credit card, respectively. If the loss is reported post 60 days, the card holder has to pay for every unauthorized transaction.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
The FTC exists to prevent fraudulent and unlawful business activities. It provides data on how to pinpoint, report, and protect oneself from such deceitful behavior. In the U.S., the FTC is the body one can report to. A person can also approach a local law enforcement agency for reporting. As a rule, the FTC investigates reports of fraud above $2,000. However, if a person wants to report a fraud below $2,000, local law agencies may help depending on the amount, type of fraud, and the area in which the fraud occurred. If it exceeds $1,50,000, the reporting is to be done to the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation).

Reporting Bogus Charges
When a person is in possession of the card and finds a bogus charge being made to the bill, then it could mean that someone is using the credit card number without authorization. Such kind of fraud is called identity theft, wherein someone copies your card number. Here, it demands alerting on your part to the credit card issuer and the local authorities. Before taking action, authorities may demand a signed statement under oath from the card holder, declaring that the holder is not involved in the bogus transactions in question, but someone else who knows card number is.

Process of Reporting
  1. In the first step, one should inform the credit card company or the bank that issued the card in question, and request each account be tagged with a fraud alert. One should also note the name of person handling the request in the fraud department, and confirm the request to freeze the account in writing.
  2. Request a copy of credit report, which can help in checking for accuracy and in reporting discrepancies in it, if any. The following credit rating agencies: Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; Experian: 1-888-397-3742, TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289 can send the report.
  3. Report the fraud to the city police. A copy of the report or the case number may help in proving the creditors that you have fallen prey to a fraud.
  4. Call the FTC's identity theft hotline. To get advise on how to prevent future credit card frauds, contact 1-877-438-4338.