What does Credit Card Fraud have to do with Identity Theft?

You might be surprised to know that Credit Card Fraud is one of the most common types of identity theft.

Of the over 10 million reported identity theft cases each year almost 25% are credit card related according to the Federal Trade Commission which tracks this type of activity.

Credit Card Fraud happens when someone else uses your credit card for an unauthorized purchase. This becomes even more serious when the stolen credit card is used to provide information to open additional accounts in your name by a criminal and or thief for the purpose of obtaining additional cash or loans in your name.

Sometimes this can go un-noticed for months and then it’s a fight to get your credit restored and your name cleared..

So you might be asking how can that be?

Let’s look at a few ways this can happen.

Here is a common scenario, you’re at a restaurant and you have had a wonderful meal, you get distracted and you fail to pick up your receipt. Not all companies “hide” your credit card number and then there is the fact that you signed the receipt copy. It becomes even more complicated if the restaurant does not have proper safe guards in place regarding the handling of credit card transactions.

One of the people on the staff uses your credit card or sells it to his friend, and the begins the problem.

A second scenario that really happen is:

In my last company that I worked for we were all issued company credit cards. It was not usual for us to take clients or employees to a particular restaurant that was close to the office. Not unusual, right?

Guess what, the entire day’s transactions at this restaurant were compromised because of sloppy handling and the credit card numbers were stolen from their credit card reader and then sold to a criminal ring which went on a spending spree. This triggered a massive stop on all the company credit cards to minimize the damage.

Unfortunately today, anyone can become a victim.

Possible signs of Credit Card Fraud:

1. Not receiving a credit card bill.

2. Receiving credit cards you didn’t apply for.

3. Being denied credit for no apparent reason.

4. Getting calls or letters about things you didn’t buy.

5. Being served court papers or arrest warrants for things you know didn’t involve you.

It’s important to note – don’t assume that unexplained occurrences are just a mistake. You need to be careful and review your monthly credit card billing each month.

What to do if you are a victim of Credit Card Fraud?

If you feel you may have been a victim or have reason to suspect fraud on your account here are actions you can take.

• Contact the credit card issuer and ask them to help determine if fraud has occurred.

• Have the card company remove the unauthorized charges and put a credit watch on your account.

• Close down the account to prevent any additional fraudulent transactions from occurring.

• Have the credit card company issue you a new account and transfer any old information to the new account.

Having been a victim of credit card fraud, I personally have taken these steps and can tell you that most companies are very willing to help you work through these issues quickly. After all its to their best interest.

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