You notice something incorrect on your credit card statement. Is it merely an error on a merchant’s part, or something far more menacing? This article goes through some of the things you should look for to protect yourself from credit card fraud.
Your name or other personal info is wrong
Some Michaels I know never go by “Mike.” Same can be said about some Chrissy’s that never ever use Christine. If you see a variation of your name or a completely different name that you have never ever used, or if you see a different Social Security Number (SSN) or, for our Canadian readers, a Social Insurance Number (SIN) that is not yours, or worse yet an address that you have never lived at, this could all be signs of fraud.
A mistake could certainly be from a simple error or typoed number, which essentially is when the credit card company mixes up your account with someone else. But more often than not, these warning signs is someone pretending that they are you, in order to use your credit. How can you tell? The next thing you should do is to investigate deeper into the concerning details showing up on your credit card statement to see if there are any other reasons for concern.
You receive letters from unfamiliar lenders you do not recognize
Credit laws require agencies to disclose any names of companies that have received your personal credit info any time over the last 2 years. No need to be concerned about junk mail… um, I mean, marketing material and promotional offers or reviews of your account, as these come from companies’ marketing departments, but what you do want to be aware of (and possibly concerned) is company names that you do not recognize at all.
One thing to be aware of is that sometimes the company that is checking your credit score does not match the company or name of the credit card (or other credit application) that you were applying through. This often happens in retail credit, for example. Macy’s or Nordstrom’s department stores often can have “parent” credit card companies who handle the financing. You will find these parent companies are the ones that are listed in the section of your credit report showing inquiries into your credit.
Your Credit Report Lists Accounts You Never Personally Opened:
This is almost always bad news because, if you did not personally open an account listed on your credit report it’s likely that someone else did using your ID.
This, of course, is not good. Only the accounts that you have personally opened, or co-signed on, should show up on your credit report. It could be something benign, that the credit card companies made a mistake, but if you see an account you never opened, look into this and get to the bottom of this fast!
Keep checking fraud report every 3-4 months
At a bare minimum you should receive a free credit report once per year from the three major credit reporting agencies which are:
Depending on where you live you might be entitles to receive more than one free copy of your report annual so make sure to check into your local state laws pertaining to credit reporting. Additionally, if you are currently unemployed and you are looking for work or you can make a case for being a victim of identity theft or fraud you might also be able to receive more than one free credit report per year.
In the event that you do fine questionable data or information on your credit report, don’t immediately assume the your identity has been stolen and panic. What is important to do is to get to the bottom of it and understand what has happened and why. Click here to get a free credit report consultation.
Unauthorized charges on your statements, any collection reports or notices for unfamiliar accounts, and monthly statements or phone calls from an unknown lender with purchases can be serious, and should be looked into with priority. Catching credit card fraud early can save you tremendous hassles of fixing your credit card score, as well as saving you a lot of time and money.