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credit card fraud Archives | Ovation Credit Repair Services

7 Simple Ways to Protect Yourself from Credit Card Fraud

By | Credit Cards, Credit Repair, Credit Scores

credit-card-fraud-protectionHistorically, 13 is considered an unlucky number. Add a few zeroes behind it, and you’re closer to the more than 13 million Americans who easily fall prey to identity theft each year. Why is it so easy? As consumers, we make it easy for identity thieves to access our records by frivolously throwing around our information as if it were as unimportant as a piece of blank paper. Let’s look at how to prevent becoming part of the unfortunate 13 million.

Protect your credit card numbers

Your numbers are the gateway between you and fraudulent activity. When reciting credit card numbers over the phone, take care to only provide them if you initiated the call. If someone calls and asks for credit card numbers, ask for their name and extension, then disconnect. You can call the primary phone number for the business and ask to be routed to that person.

Take care with your actual card, as well. Be sure to tuck it away in your wallet or purse after making an in-person purchase. Call the bank or credit card company immediately if you find you have left the card behind.

Don’t store your online passwords

Between work and home, we typically have a large number of user names and passwords. Every site has a “Remember Me” feature, and some browsers offer to remember passwords, too. This makes it easy for identity thieves to slip in and steal pieces of information. Avoid saving passwords; that applies to every website, from banking and email sites to those of your social media and favorite shopping destinations.

Opt in for text alerts

Many banks and credit card companies now offer text alerts as an option for their clients. You can opt in to receive an alert when a purchase is made with your card. In this manner, you are aware when there is activity on your card and can be well informed of fraudulent activity.

Check your credit card statement carefully

Review your statement every month. Even if you paid online, thoroughly review your statement to be sure you haven’t missed any fees or unaccounted-for purchases.

Check your address

Verify your address with your credit card company and bank from time to time. It is a common scam for thieves to change your address and have your bills sent elsewhere. A brief amount of time could save you a big headache.

Shred your documents

It’s amazing what thieves can use to steal your information. Anything with your financial information is candy for an identity thief. It’s imperative that you even shred pre-approved credit card applications, since even those bear enough information for someone to open an account in your name.

File reports immediately

Immediately contact your credit card company as soon as you see something suspicious on your statement. The longer you delay, the more difficult it is to resolve irregularities and the greater the opportunity you allow thieves to engage in fraudulent activity.

Protecting yourself from identity theft requires just a little bit of upfront effort on your part. Cleaning up the aftermath, however, is another story. If you find yourself a victim of identity theft, remember that consulting a credit repair specialist such as Ovation can be a prudent option for maintaining your credit score. The road to recovery can be long, but restoring your credit can certainly be achieved. Whether you’re recovering or protecting yourself, start today.

How To Handle Domestic Fraud

By | Ask a Credit Expert, Credit Laws, Fraud Protection

You hear about identity theft all the time. There seems to be tons of stories in the news these days about someone hacking into a business and stealing data on customers or their credit card numbers. It’s easy to know what to do when a stranger steals your information and commits fraud, but fraud can also be committed against you by someone you know.  It might sound more like something that happens in a movie, but maybe your brother-in-law dug that pre-approved credit card application that came in the mail out of your trash and helped himself to your better credit and opened the account.

At Ovation, we’ve seen it all – from clients whose family members have opened cable accounts and cell phones in their names without their knowledge to family members who rack up thousands of dollars in credit debt. Until you get a bill for a line of credit or a service you never opened, or you see a delinquent account on your credit report, you may never even know they’ve done it.

When a stranger commits identity theft, there is no hesitation about phoning the police and filing a police report (the surest way to protect your credit). With domestic fraud, it’s not always that easy to call and turn in your brother, mother, or nephew. Sometimes, you can handle the fraud privately between you and the family member responsible. Try talking with that person to see if you can work out a way to repay the debt that resolves the problem without impacting your credit score or sending your loved one to jail.

While some creditors may not even ask you who committed the fraud or care if you do know who was responsible, it’s likely they’ll ask for a police report. Generally it makes it easier to prove fraud if there’s a police report, but we understand it can be hard to file one against a relative, even if they are that black sheep of the family who always seems to be looking for a free ride at everybody else’s expense.

If the “figure it out between us” approach doesn’t work, you may be left with no choice other than reporting the abuse.  You can try to handle the debt yourself, and you may have the resources to do this, but if you don’t and you end up with a delinquent account on your credit report, then you’ll need to consider calling the credit bureau and telling them that the negative account on your credit report is the result of fraud. No matter who committed the fraud – friend or stranger – you have the right to dispute the charges and repair your credit score.

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