KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Credit card fraud cost Americans nearly $1.5 billion last year, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
The FTC says there were nearly three million individual reports to its agency for fraud.
You don’t want to be an all-too-real part of these statistics – here’s what to do if your account is in jeopardy and how to prevent any fraudulent charges in the future.
Contact your card issuer
If you find a charge on your account that you can’t quite recall, or any suspicious activity on your statement it’s best you act fast, contact your card issuer. You’ll find a toll-free number on the back of your credit card.
Your card issuer should be able to track the location and time of the purchase in question, so it’ll be easy to determine whether it truly is a fraudulent charge or just a forgotten transaction.
After reporting your initial concern, look into your other credit card accounts to ensure that there’s no extra foul play going on. To avoid anything further being compromised, change the passwords on your accounts to be as secure as possible.
Also, if your bank decides to send you a card with a new number, it may require new login credentials, so be sure to differentiate from your old accounts.
Report to credit bureaus
If you were a victim of credit card fraud, the next step is to report it to one of the three national credit bureaus:
By calling and placing a fraud alert with one of these organizations, you can prevent the thieves from doing further damage.
This step is essential in protecting your credit score. A call to just one of the three will suffice.
If you are not aware of who has committed the fraudulent charges, filing a report with your local police station or sheriff’s department, this action can save you some long-term stress.
While authorities may not be able to find the thieves if they’re overseas, the bad guy could possibly be local and be caught if you file your report with detailed information – quickly.
Also, hold onto a copy of the report to have proof of the crime, it’ll help you if an Identity Theft Report is necessary and when dealing with creditors.
Finally, don’t forget to monitor and check you credit cards statements monthly.
This advice should be put into practice at any point you have a credit card account, but it’s especially crucial after you have experience phony charges because you may be at a higher risk than you were before.