If someone has stolen or is fraudulently using credit cards that are issued to you (including any ATM/Debit/Check cards), you will need to take the following steps:
- Immediately notify the credit card company or financial institution that issued your card. Do not delay as the stolen cards are normally used quickly after being stolen.
- Make an immediate police report for the loss or theft of the credit card(s) with the law enforcement agency holding jurisdiction where the loss/theft occurred and obtain a case number. If the credit card was lost or stolen and it has been used fraudulently, a theft has occurred.
The cardholder is the victim of the theft of the card only. Even though a credit card is issued to a cardholder, the issuing credit card company or financial institution (e.g., Visa, MasterCard, an issuing bank, etc.) has total control over their credit account and only extends the privilege of its use to the assigned cardholder(s). A cardholder is not deemed to be a victim of the fraudulent use of the credit card(s) solely by having their name embossed on the card. The credit card company or financial institution issuing this card will normally be the victim of any fraudulent use of the card. The victim of the crime known as fraudulent use of a credit card is determined by whomever ultimately suffers the financial loss.
The issuing credit card company or financial institution many require the assigned cardholder(s) to complete fraud affidavits along with any other document to assist in their investigation. They will determine possible courses of action which may include:
- reimbursing your account.
- writing off the fraud due to the low dollar amount of the loss or declining to prosecute the case, listing this loss as a cost of doing business. Generally, the will be no further investigation by law enforcement.
- charging back any fraudulent charges to the cardholder or merchant. If this occurs, the cardholder or merchant will become the victim of any fraudulent use of the credit card. The cardholder or merchant will have to make a separate complaint report with the law enforcement agency holding jurisdiction where the fraudulent use of the credit card occurred.
- actively perusing prosecution for any fraudulent charges made within an agency’s jurisdiction. The issuing credit card company or financial institution will be required to make a separate complaint report with the law enforcement agency holding jurisdiction where the fraudulent use of the credit card occurred.
Note: As a cardholder, you should remain in contact with the issuing credit card company or financial institution to determine what the outcome of the investigation and any decision to seek prosecution. If their decision is to take the loss, there will not be any further investigation by the agency.
Contact the three credit reporting companies listed below to report this credit card theft and / or fraudulent use. should confirm that a fraud alert is placed on your personal credit file. This should help prevent any future acts of fraud.