Credit card fraud is a seemingly unstoppable crime with 1 out of every 10 Americans being a victim of credit card fraud. Criminals have dozens of ways to get the credit card numbers from unsuspecting card holders. From rifling through the garbage bins at apartment complexes, to using Radio Frequency Identification to virtual swipe credit card info from cards enabled by PayPass, to online phishing scams, and eavesdropping on phone calls then copying down credit card information they over hear.
One of the basic steps for preventing credit card fraud is to check your statements for accuracy to ensure all the charges on the bill were authorized by you. If you discover a discrepancy, then you must immediately contact your credit card provider to notify them of the situation. They will then immediately deactivate your card and provide you with additional instruction to dispute the charges and clear up the situation with them. It is also important to file a report to the proper authority as you have just been a victim of theft. There are additional steps to take to ensure you can still get access to the credit you need if you become a victim of credit card fraud.
If you become a victim of credit card fraud, the best way to access the credit you need is by preparing in advance for that scenario. You should have a spare credit account stored separately and safely from your other card. That way if your card has to be canceled because of unscrupulous behavior, you will already have a back up plan in order.
You should notify the three credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian of what has happened so they can flag your file. This notification will alert them of fraudulent activity under your name and you can tag your files with notes explaining the situation. That should help keep your credit history intact. One additional step is to put your account on fraud alert through the Tran Union Fraud Department by calling 1-800-680-7289 and they will contact the other credit bureaus on your behalf.