Credit Card Study

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Credit Card Fraud Protection for Merchants
Famous Credit Card Frauds
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Protect Your Card
What to Do in Case of Identity Theft
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What to Do in Case of Identity Theft

Identity theft is one of the worst consequences of credit card fraud. Identity theft, as the name itself implies, involves using a fake identity, or stealing somebody else's identity to make purchases or to commit various other kinds of crime. Unfortunately, identity theft is on the rise and it becomes one of the most serious crimes in the USA and all over the world. As with credit card fraud, you can't blame the Internet for your misfortunes, though the Internet certainly makes it easier for criminals to commit identity thefts.

There are many things one can do to minimize the damage of identity theft. First, the most important thing is that you must be aware that you have become a victim of identity theft or that there is a higher risk for becoming a victim of identity theft. This is the trickiest part – many identity theft victims become aware of the fact when it is too late – i.e. after the criminals have stolen and used their personal information. Unfortunately, it is not possible that you always know if somebody else is using your personal information but if, for instance, your wallet gets stolen and your credit cards and other documents were in it, you can presume that there is an increased risk of becoming an identity theft victim and you must take the following steps as soon as possible:

  • Report the theft immediately. This is crucial to do as soon as you become aware of the fact that your credit cards and other documents have been stolen. Report the theft to the police and to the issuer of your credit cards. When a theft is reported, you are not responsible about any possible misuse of your documents. The case gets a little bit complicated, if you have a whole bunch of credit cards and you don't remember exactly which ones where in your purse at the time of the theft.

  • Freeze your accounts. When you report that your credit card is stolen, the issuer will freeze your accounts. This way you will prevent the thieves from withdrawing money. Well, you will also be unable to withdraw money until you get a new credit card or the money is transferred to another account but still this is better than having to pay somebody else's bills.

  • Place a fraud alert on your credit reports. Contact one of the three agencies that deal with credit reports and notify them of the fact that your card has been stolen. The other problems that arise due to identity theft are enough, so why risk getting a bad credit rating as well?

One of the difficulties in dealing with identity theft is that this is not always a tangible crime. In a sense, it is easier if your wallet gets stolen because then you know that your credit cards and other documents are missing. It is much trickier to catch that an identity theft has been performed on you when there is no physical evidence – i.e. somebody just steals your data and uses it later. One possible way to catch such a kind of identity fraud is to watch out for suspicious activity on your credit card balance. Checking your credit report at least once a year also helps, though a year is a pretty long period of time and many frauds can be committed before you check your credit report.

Dealing with identity theft is not pleasant and in many cases, especially when your credit cards have not been physically stolen, you might have difficulties in proving that you are actually a victim. There are known cases of fraudulent identity theft reports when the “victim” was actually the thief, so don't take it personally, if your bank, or the police officers demand proofs that you are a victim.