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How To Report Credit Card Theft To Police

Shopping And Auction Site Fraud

Westfield police looking to identify credit card theft suspects

Many people use the Internet to buy things through online shops or auctions. With some simple precautions, this can be a safe and convenient way to shop.

When you buy something from an Internet auction site, you are purchasing from an individual or company, not the auction house. Once the bidding has finished, negotiations about payment and delivery take place between the purchaser and seller. Regarding online transactions, it is advisable to select an escrow service yourself rather than accept advice from the seller. Do not click on links to banking or escrow services provided in emails as these may lead to fraudulent sites.

The auction house will usually adopt a policy of not taking legal responsibility for any loss that is suffered from using their service. Goods bought at auction are not covered by statutory warranties under the Trade Practices Act. The seller’s only obligation is to give clear title.

It is therefore important to take care when using online auction sites. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission provides useful advice for using online auction sites or conducting transactions over the internet.

The following general advice is a good start:

How Can Credit Card Fraud Impact My Credit

When credit card fraud goes undetected, thieves have a chance to run up charges in your namewhich they never intend to pay. This can be damaging to your credit profile. In most cases, you’ll be able to clear up these matters by proving you didn’t authorize the charges. In the meantime, however, anyone checking your credit may see fraudulent credit card accounts, missed payments or increased balances that are appearing as a result of fraud. The presence of these fraudulent items could paint a less-than-flattering picture of your credit habits. Card fraud can put negative marks on your credit reports, including:

  • Late payments: If a fraudster opens a credit card account in your name and never pays a bill, late payments could be reported to the credit bureaus in your name and your credit scores could suffer. Payment history, the most important factor in credit scores, accounting for 35% of your FICO┬« Score.
  • High credit utilization: If a fraudulent credit card, or one of your own cards, is being used to run up bogus charges, your the percentage of your borrowing limit represented by your outstanding balancescould skyrocket. Credit utilization is nearly as important as payment history in determining your credit scores, and a high utilization could cause your credit scores to suffer.

How Does It Happen

  • Steal your card and make purchases by forging your signature.
  • Use your credit card details to pay for goods or services over the phone or Internet.
  • Trick you into revealing your access codes for your account and then making Internet purchases.
  • Capture your credit card details with hidden devices during an ATM or EFTPOS transaction or your PIN number may be seen by someone in the queue .
  • Skim your credit cards at retail outlets or restaurants, resulting in a clone card being made and used by a fraudster.

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If You Are Contacted By A Debt Collector

Tell the debt collector that you are the victim of identity theft. Say that you dispute the validity of the debt. Say that you did not create the debt and are not responsible for it. Send the collector a follow-up letter saying the same things. Include a copy of your police report and of any documents youve received from the creditor. Write in your letter that you are giving notice to a claimant under California Civil Code section 1798.93, subsection that a situation of identity theft exists. Send the letter by certified mail, return receipt requested. If the debt collector is not the original creditor, be sure to send your letter within 30 days of receiving the collectors first written demand for payment.

Penalties For Credit Card Fraud In Canada

As a criminal offence, the penalties for credit card fraud are set forth by the Criminal Code of Canada. Matters are assessed on an individual basis, though there are some standards in place which are used as guidelines. These include:

  • Fines: If an individual possesses a forged or stolen credit card there is the potential for a $5,000 fine. While fines are a possible legal recourse, it is not the only option. Therefore, the fine will not necessarily apply.
  • Imprisonment: A jail sentence of six months may be placed instead of the above-noted fine. In certain situations, both the fine and the minimum jail sentence is ordered. For a more severe offence, and if it is classed as an indictable felony, a maximum of ten years jail time can result.

Do you know what credit card balance protection is?

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Key Credit Card Theft Findings

Weve compiled key findings from the Federal Trade Commissions Annual Data Book of 2020 to keep you informed about the frequency and severity of credit card fraud, as well as identified statistics about the populations who are most vulnerable to fraud.

  • The most frequent payment method identified out of all fraud reports was credit cards.
  • Credit card fraud made up a total of 459,297 reported instances of fraud and identity theft combined in 2020.
  • 66,090 cases of reported fraud
  • 393,207 cases of reported identity theft
  • In identity theft cases, people ages 30-39 reported the most instances of credit card fraud while those age 80 and older reported the least.
  • Instances of identity theft by credit card fraud increased by 44.6% from 271,927 in 2019 to 393,207 in 2020.
  • Identity theft by new credit card accounts increased by 48% in 2020.
  • Should You File A Police Report After Identity Theft

    Through April 20, 2022, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax will offer all U.S. consumers free weekly credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com to help you protect your financial health during the sudden and unprecedented hardship caused by COVID-19.

    In this article:

    If you believe you’re a victim of identity theft, there are several steps you need to take to help rectify the situation. But is filing a police report one of them? You should file a police report after identity theft if you can provide evidence for the investigation, know the person or group responsible for the theft, or are asked for a report by a creditor or other entity.

    Depending on how and what type of information is stolen, scammers may use your identity to siphon money from your financial accounts, open new accounts such as credit cards or phone plans, commit tax fraud, or apply for government benefits. In 2020, 1.4 million Americans filed identity theft reports, according to the Federal Trade Commission, a 29% increase over the previous year. The most common form of ID theft involved scammers using stolen information to apply for or receive government benefits, such as unemployment insurance.

    Read on to find out the steps you need to take if you’re a victim of identity theft, and when a police report may be necessary to help resolve the issue.

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    Notify The Police Of Identity Theft

    After filing a report with the FTC, you may also wish to report the fraud and identity theft to the police. This is completely optional, and youll want to take the following materials with you:

    • Government-issued photo identification
    • Proof of address
    • A copy of your Identity Theft Report from the FTC
    • Any proof of theft
    • FTC Memo to Law Enforcement

    The impact of fraud and identity theft on individual lives and finances is rising every year. Educate yourself about credit card fraud statistics so that you can take precautions when it comes to your money. To help stay vigilant about fraud, link your credit card account to the Mint app, so you can keep track of any suspicious transactions.

    Check out the infographic below for more information about fraud and identity theft and how to prevent it, as well as cybersecurity tips and best practices.

    What Is Identity Theft

    Westfield police looking to identify credit card theft suspects

    Identity Theft occurs when someone uses your personally identifying information like your name, Social Security number, or credit card number without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. According to the Federal Trade Commission, approximately 9 million Americans have their identity stolen each year. Identity thieves may use your personally identifying information to establish lines of credit, bank accounts, credit card accounts and other forms of credit. You may not find out your identity has been compromised until you receive a bill in the mail or are contacted by a debt collector.

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    Are There Any State Laws About Identity Theft

    Massachusetts identity theft law requires businesses and others that own or license personal information of residents of Massachusetts to notify the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation and the Office of Attorney General when they know or have reason to know of a breach of security. The law also requires that the breached entity notify consumers of any breach of their personal information that creates a substantial risk of identity theft or fraud as soon as practicable and without unreasonable delay after a breach occurs, except when a law enforcement agency determines that notice may impede a criminal investigation.

    If You Are Wrongly Accused Of A Crime Committed By An Identity Thief

    “Criminal identity theft” is a label given to a particular type of identity theft. Criminal identity theft occurs when a suspect in a criminal investigation identifies himself or herself using the identity of another, innocent person. A special database in the California Department of Justice can help victims of this kind of identity theft. See our Consumer Information Sheet 8: How to Use the California Identity Theft Registry- A Guide for Victims of “Criminal” Identity Theft.

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    How To Protect Yourself From Credit Card Fraud

    While fraud is frightening, there are simple steps you can take to preserve your credit and financial wellbeing. These include:

    • Checking your credit report at least once a year: Look into your directly from TransUnion and Equifax at least once every year. Ensure that all the charges are accurate. If you suspect foul play, take action.
    • Keeping your pin and passwords safe: It is important to never share your passwords or your pin number. This offers a basic level of security and prevents many issues if your card is lost or stolen.
    • Use your information responsibly: In general, do not issue personal information over the phone or the internet. This includes, but isnt limited to, your date of birth, social insurance number, credit card details, and address. If you are in doubt as to whether to provide the information, wait, check their credentials, and either call back or return to the website when you are certain of its ethical nature. Its always best to be cautious.

    What Type Of Fraud Or Identity Theft Can I Report Online

    The following are incidents that can be reported online:

    • If your personal information was used to obtain credit without your permission.
    • If your personal information was used to obtain a service without permission.
    • If your personal information was used to open a bank account in your name unknowingly.
    • If your debit/credit card information was used illegally and you possess these cards.
    • If your personal information was used to obtain government identification.
    • If someone you don’t know called you for money or information and you feel they were untruthful.
    • If someone scammed you via computer for money and information illegally.
    • If your bank stated that someone used your information illegally and is not one of the above situations.
    • If the total amount is less than $25,000.

    If none of these situations apply to you, please call us at 519-570-9777.

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    Use The Id Theft Affidavit

    Creditors may ask you to fill out fraud affidavits. The Federal Trade Commissions ID Theft Affidavit is accepted by the credit bureaus and by most major creditors. Send copies of the completed form to creditors where the thief opened accounts in your name. Also send copies to creditors where the thief made charges on your account, to the credit bureaus, and to the police. The form is available on the FTC Web site at ww.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/resources/forms/affidavit.pdf. File a complaint of identity theft with the FTC. See their Web site at www.consumer.gov/idtheft The FTC keeps a database of identity theft cases that is used by many law enforcement agencies.

    Report The Crime To The Police

    Under California law, you can report identity theft to your local police department.1 Ask the police to issue a police report of identity theft. Give the police as much information on the theft as possible. One way to do this is to provide copies of your credit reports showing the items related to identity theft. Black out other items not related to identity theft. Give the police any new evidence you collect to add to your report. Be sure to get a copy of your police report. You will need to give copies to creditors and the credit bureaus. For more information, see Organizing Your Identity Theft Case” by the Identity Theft Resource Center, available at

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    How Credit Card Fraud Happens

    • make a purchase at a place of business
    • make a purchase or transaction online
    • make a purchase or transaction by telephone
    • withdraw money from an automated teller machine

    A person can steal your credit card or credit card information by:

    • going through your garbage or mailbox to find credit card statements or other banking information
    • swiping your credit card through a device that copies the information stored on the magnetic stripe of your card
    • hacking into the computers of companies and stealing credit card information
    • installing small devices on payment terminals that record your credit card information
    • phishing, that is, sending you an email that looks like it comes from a real business asking for credit card information
    • asking you to use your credit card on an illegitimate website to make a purchase

    The Following Tips Will Help You To Increase The Security Of Your Card And Account Details

    Tallassee Police Investigate Dozens of Credit, Debit Card Fraud Reports

    Be aware of general security

    • Keep your card safe and secure at all times.
    • Secure your mail by locking your letter box.
    • Tell your institution as soon as you realise your card has been stolen or lost, or if you think it may have been used without your authorisation.
    • Never lend your card to another person.
    • Sign the back of a new card as soon as you receive it.
    • Consider picking up a new or replacement card in person.

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    Request Information On Fraudulent Accounts

    When you file your police report of identity theft, the officer may give you forms to use to request account information from credit grantors, utilities or cell phone service companies. If the officer does not do this, you can use the form in our Consumer Information Sheet 3A: Requesting Information on Fraudulent Accounts. When you write to creditors where the thief opened or applied for accounts, send copies of the forms, along with copies of the police report. Give the information you receive from creditors to the officer investigating your case.

    What Do I Do If I Become A Victim

    • Contact your local police department and file a report and obtain a case number. Most credit and financial institutions will require that you file a police report. Police departments in New Jersey are required to take a report when you reasonably believe or suspect you are a victim of identity theft notwithstanding the fact that jurisdiction for prosecution or investigation may lie elsewhere.

    • Immediately call the fraud units of the three credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Report the theft of your credit cards or identity to them. Request that your account be flagged and have a Fraud Alert/Victim Impact statement placed in your credit file asking that creditors call before granting credit. Obtain the names and phone numbers of businesses where fraudulent accounts have been opened, if any.

    • Contact your creditors and those businesses who providedcredit in your name fraudulently by phone and in writingto inform them of the problem. Ask for replacementcards, close out old and fraudulent accounts, and obtainnew account numbers and create new pin numbers if theaccount have been used fraudulently.

    Federal Trade Commission :

    Assisting Law Enforcement:

    Stolen Checks:

    National Check Fraud Service

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    Protect Your Information Online And Off

    Shred any piece of paper that has your credit card number on it, and don’t write down your card number anywhere that thieves might be able to access it.

    Also, be vigilant about protecting your card use online by only filling out card information on websites you trust. You can look for the lock icon in your browser’s address bar to be sure you’re buying from a secure site.

    When Do I Need To Report Identity Theft To The Police

    There are many different forms of fraud and identity theft, and some warrant a police report more than others. Local law enforcement may be somewhat limited when investigating an internet crime or large data breach, and a police report may not be required for certain types of identity-related crimes. You should file a police report in the following situations:

    • You know who committed the identity theft.
    • You can provide specific information that may be able to help the police investigation.
    • Your identity was used fraudulently in an encounter with the police.
    • A creditor or other entity requires a police report as part of their investigation.

    While not always required, filing a police report can potentially help the authorities catch and stop the person or group committing the crimes. Additionally, some creditors or companies may require you to obtain a police report in order to help you fix the damage.

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