How to Check if You Suspect Someone Opened a Card in Your Name?
Have you experienced getting a text message about a transaction that you did not process? Or maybe read an email asking you to update your password because your account got compromised? These are just some of the examples that people experience if they have fallen prey to fraudulent credit card transactions.
Identity theft is at the forefront of crimes that are commonly committed these days. In as much as technology has opened doors to much of society’s development, it also came with risks. One of these risks would be the scheming ways of people to steal personal information, which they use for other crimes. One of these would be opening credit card accounts under someone else’s name. Worse, anyone could be a victim, including yourself.
These days, you can start fighting such crimes by keeping your information protected in more ways than one. However, we also cannot deny the fact that you could still end up becoming a victim especially for those who are intent on stealing your information. If you are concerned that someone might have opened a credit card in your name, then here are some ways for you to find out.
1.Check your credit reports.
There are several ways that you can get a copy of your latest credit report. If you are subscribed to a specific agency that provides this, then you need to call them to ask for a copy. You will be asked to provide your personal information over the phone. This is going to be a more secure option for you if you have suspicions of having your information compromised.
2.Call the Credit Card Issuer’s Fraud Department.
If you received a call or notification that there is a credit card account opened in your name, you need to gather as much information as possible. Here are some of the pieces of information that you need to find out:
- when the account was opened;
- possible location that it was opened
- manner by which the account was requested (this could be online or through phone)
All this information would be helpful to take note of. You should get as much information as possible, so you can have it reported to the authorities too. This is a responsible way for you to also help other possible victims of these crimes while protecting yourself, as well.
3.Think about Triggering a Fraud Alert or Credit Freeze.
All it will take is a call from you. You must be conscious of your next steps to ensure that there will not be a single purchase to be made out of the credit card. This is usually a free feature if you are enrolled under a credit agency. There are 3 types of alerts that you can choose from:
Initial fraud alert – this is usually an option made by first-time victims of identity theft. It alerts credit and financial institutions that you are a victim. This lets them know that they should not open any kind of account under your name unless verified. This type of alert appears for about 90 days on your credit report.
Extended fraud alert – this is a similar feature to the initial alert but will reflect on your credit for as long as 7 years. You can coordinate with your credit agency if you wish to set it up for less time.
A credit freeze – this is a feature that you can take advantage of by just calling your credit agency. This will restrict all entities from viewing your credit report unless they specifically ask you for it. This prevents potential identity thieves from gaining access to your information, as well. At the same time, you can be sure that all transactions moving forward will have to be validated by yourself.
4.You need to take steps and ensure that the incident is reported to the authorities.
You can drop by the police station to write down a report about the incident and to trigger a police investigation. It will serve you well to report all the information you gathered from the credit card company. You can let the experts take all the information they need so they can get to the bottom of the incident. It is also important for you to know your options, as below:
How to report identity theft by someone you don’t know. If you are clueless about the person responsible for the crime, you need to provide all the information available to the authorities. You should go to the police station and complete the paperwork yourself. This way, you can get hold of the relevant documents you need to also prove that you are a victim.
How to report identity theft by someone you know. If the available information point towards a person you know, then you may opt to handle the case more discreetly. It is still important to report this to the authorities because you will be asked by banks for the documentation that you are a victim of fraud. At the same time, you also need to be clear with the authorities if you want them to pursue the case. In many instances, if a family member is involved, you can opt not to press charges.
5.Recontacting the Credit Bureaus.
When the police have completed their investigation, you need to reconnect with the credit agency. This way, you can keep them posted on the progress of the investigation and also set up relevant alerts in their system. This is going to be particularly helpful if they can block specific IP addresses or email domains that could have been used in fraud.
6.Filing a Police Report.
This is the final stage that you need to take care of. This is essential to document the full incident from the beginning up until the result of the police investigation. More than the document, this is also going to place behind bars the individuals responsible for the fraudulent activity.
As identity theft is fast becoming a common crime nowadays, you need to be empowered about the right information if you become a victim. This will make you equipped to take the necessary steps to protect your personal information further and also educate your loved ones. As such, you know that you will not have a credit card opened unless it was you who asked for it.