The tips described on the Debit Card Fraud and Protecting Your Identity pages of this website can help deter crime, yet despite best efforts, a determined criminal can still access your information. If fraud occurs on your account, or you become the victim of identity theft, there are numerous resources to assist you in clearing your name.
- Contact your financial institution — If you spot unauthorized charges on an account, immediately contact that institution and have them freeze the account. Different issuers have different policies; however, most creditors will promptly issue replacement cards with new account numbers.
- Contact law enforcement — Although local police may not be able to directly assist you, they can provide documentation verifying to future creditors that you have been a crime victim.
- Check your credit report — Each of the three credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion may show different information about your credit history. It is critical to contact each agency and request a copy of their report. The agencies are required, by law, to provide an annual copy of your report to you free of charge.
- File a fraud alert — Contact any one of the three credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion and open a fraud alert. Newly opened accounts may take several months to show up on a credit report. Placing a fraud alert will assist you in keeping updated on changes to your credit profile.
- Contact the government — The federal government, operating under the recently established Financial Federal Enforcement Task Force, offers advice on how cases of suspected fraud can be submitted to federal agencies. The Federal Trade Commission can also assist you in completing an Identity Theft Report.