Stopping credit cards that have been stolen and used without your knowledge can take effort to stop this illegal activity.
Problem Description – People use credit cards illegally after finding lost or stolen cards or stealing account information through various methods. For example, some clerks skim the data with hand held machines when you use your card in a store or restaurant, GulfNews staff reporter Cleofe Maceda explains. Phishers may try to trick you into installing malicious software or lure you into providing your credit card number to fake websites. People may call you on the telephone, impersonating your bank or using other stories to trick you into sharing account information.
Action – Your bank will close your credit card account if evidence shows that an unauthorized person is using it. You typically will receive a new account number and card and are not held liable for the fraudulent charges. Contact one of the three credit bureaus if you suspect the thief might try other fraudulent activities in your name. You only have to notify one bureau because TransUnion, Experian and Equifax work cooperatively and contact each other to report fraud cases, according to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. Request a 90-day fraud alert, which makes it difficult for a criminal to get new credit cards in your name because lenders take strict precautions to verify applications if there is a fraud alert attached.
Follow-Up – Fill out a police report regarding the unauthorized credit card use. The FTC explains that you need an official report to extend your fraud alerts from three months to seven years. This prevents an unauthorized card user from opening new accounts in your name once the initial fraud alerts expire. You can run reliable anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your computer in case your credit card information was stolen online. Use your new card with caution, covering the number when using it in stores and keeping it in sight while a restaurant server or cashier handles it.