Credit Card Fraud Alert

Identity theft and fraudulent use of someone’s credit card is a big problem.  If you have been unfortunate enough to lose your credit card or have been a victim of someone stealing your card then you need to know about the credit card fraud alert.

If your credit card has been either lost or stolen you need to contact your credit card company and have the lost or stolen card cancelled.  Then arrange with the credit card company to issue a new card to you and have the credit card company send you any forms you need to complete to file a fraud alert.

Once you receive the fraud alert forms promptly fill out the forms and send them in.  The more time that passes the worse the credit fraud may become.  Whether your credit card was lost or stolen there is a risk to you.  A lost card may be found by someone who will take advantage and use the card fraudulently.  Then you will have all kinds of problems to work to straighten out the mess  Repairing credit card fraud can cost you lots of time and lots of worry and stress.   If problems do arise you’ll be glad you filed a credit card fraud alert promptly so these problems could be minimized.

There are three major credit bureaus.  However, when you inform one of these bureaus of the loss or theft of your credit card this bureau will inform the other two.  When you file a credit fraud alert with the credit bureaus it puts them on notice that you may be the victim of identity theft and they can advise your creditors of this fact.  Then, if someone tries to open more credit in your name the credit bureau should get in touch with you to verify that you are the person actually asking for more credit and it is not someone who has stolen your identity.

An initial fraud alert will stay on file for 90 days from the time you file the fraud alert. If you suspect you have been the victim of identity theft or might become a victim you should file the 90-day fraud alert.  You can use this 90-day fraud alert in the event you have lost your card or if your mail has been stolen or lost and you suspect there might be a problem.  The 90-day initial fraud alert should allow you to ferret out if someone is trying to use your identity fraudulently.  Just in case a problem does arise it is smart to file a police report.

There is a second type of fraud alert called an extended fraud alert.  The extended fraud alert stays in effect for seven years.  You will file the extended alert in much the same manner as you file the initial fraud alert.  However, with the extended fraud alert the credit bureaus require that you also file an identity theft report. You will need to include a copy of the police report form to file with the extended fraud alert form with the credit bureau.  This is when filing a police report early comes in handy.

You cannot be too careful in trying to protect yourself from identity theft.  If you lose a credit card or you have a credit card stolen, be sure to file a credit card fraud alert.  It is very important.