Stopping fraud is as easy as starting at StopFraud.gov.
Credit fraud targets people of all ages and walks of life. Victims are lured in with false promises of significant cash prizes, goods, services, or good works, in exchange for up-front fees, taxes or donations. Sometimes, however, it isn’t an extravagant method of obtaining your information that works for an identity thief committing credit fraud. Sometimes credit fraud is committed simply because you lost your wallet or purse and someone else found it and used your credit cards.
Credit fraud includes a variety of scams that target people applying for credit and/or are dealing with debt, such as:Advance-fee loan scams that involve charging an upfront fee to guarantee a credit card or loan before you apply. These offers are illegal and often target people with credit problems.Debt settlement scams that include deceptive ads that promise debt relief, when in fact what they are offering is bankruptcy, and others that promise to negotiate with your creditors, but take the money and run.Loan scams that offer you enticing rates to apply for a loan, but then do not include any language to let you know that you’re not actually getting the offered interest rate.Free Government Grant scams that promise you can get tons of free money to pay your bills, go back to school, pay for your daycare, or even start a small business as long as you fork over all your personal information first.
This is in addition to the most obvious kind of credit fraud, which is using your card or your card’s information to purchase goods and services without your permission. Credit fraud is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States and falls under the umbrella of identity theft because you generally have to pretend to be someone other than yourself in order to use a stolen credit card or open up new lines of credit in someone else’s name.
How can you prevent credit fraud from occurring? There are a few basic steps:Better protect your information on your own. We’ve outlined 10 basic steps you can take to better protect your information at home without having to pay a dime.Sign up for credit monitoring services. A good identity theft protection plan will monitor your credit information and your personal identification information around the clock so that you can know immediately if someone else is making unauthorized changes to your financial picture. Compare the best credit monitoring services at StopIdentityFraud.org
Verify, verify, verify. If you don’t know why you’ve received a text or an e-mail, then don’t give a reply or click on a link included to provide your personally identifying information. When in doubt, call a customer service representative.Report anything suspicious immediately. Go to stopfraud.gov and report anything suspicious. You’ll be able to find the specific type of credit fraud to report and where you need to go report it.
The worst thing that any of us can do is to not report anything. By not reporting credit fraud when it is discovered, we are condoning it. By taking the steps to prevent credit fraud and then actively reporting suspicions, we are doing something about credit fraud and identity theft: we’re fighting to stop it. Follow these steps today to make sure that you can prevent credit fraud before it ever starts.
More ways you can prevent credit card fraud online.