THIS PAGE MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. MEANING WE RECEIVE COMMISSIONS FOR PURCHASES MADE THROUGH THOSE LINKS, AT NO COST TO YOU. PLEASE READ OUR DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.
Both identity theft and credit fraud are on the rise. This makes checking your credit report for fraudulent charges very important.
You are probably aware that you are eligible, by law, to obtain a free credit report annually from each of Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. To claim your free copies of your credit report, make sure to visit the government sponsored website at annualcreditreport.com.
Please note that your credit report will not include your credit score. That is sold separately. But you will be given an option to choose that add on.
Every American is allowed one free 3-in-1 credit report every 12 months and you can are able to order one free credit report every 12 month period.
They will ask you to provide them with information in order to maintain privacy and security. Added security measures could possibly mean answering a security question specific to you.
There is no need to individually contact each of the bureaus. They will provide all three reports through the website.
Spotting Fraudulent Accounts
Once you receive your credit report, begin to scan your report for suspicious activity. Go over the entire report as thoroughly as possible, checking for such things as:
- Anything that has changed in your account activity, including purchases and cash advances.
- Any unauthorized inquiries that may have been made.
- Any recently opened accounts or new accounts that you may not recognize.
- Increased credit card limits, balances or balance transfers for which you are unaware.
- Address changes can also sometimes signal suspicious activity.
If you do find something that concerns you and you are sure that the charge on the credit card wasnít made by you, first contact the credit card issuer immediately.
You will have to follow their protocol for a dispute in getting it removed or resolved.
During the investigation period, you will not be held responsible for paying that portion of the credit card balance, even though it may not be removed right away.
After filing your official dispute with the credit card company and while you are waiting for a resolution, you may want check into a monitoring service.
Each of the three credit bureaus offer monitoring services and it may be to your advantage to enroll in one of them.
Disputing Fraudulent Accounts
Some tips to remember when disputing an item and to comply with the Fair Credit Billing Act are listed below:
- Alert your credit card issuer within 60 days, in writing, of the disputed amount that has been charged to your account.
- Request a receipt and send the dispute letter as a certified letter and not just in the regular mail.
- Make your dispute letter as professional and accurate as possible, clearly stating the charge in question.
- Keep copies of your letter and document the date it was sent by retaining your receipt until the matter is resolved.
Most of the time, the credit card company will work diligently to resolve this matter, in order to keep their loyal customers happy.
The benefit of the doubt will normally be given and fraudulent charges will be removed after they have been verified to be unauthorized.
Keep paying your payments, though, while the dispute is in investigation and record keeping is a key factor when disputing credit card charges.