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Q: Who should I report credit card fraud to, the police or FBI?
A: You should report credit card fraud to your local police. You can either call the number or go in person to the police department. Don’t call 911; instead use the non-emergency number, which you can often find with a quick internet search. Some police departments will even let you fill out a police report on their website.
Reporting it to the police is good, but you should also report the fraud to your credit card company. Most cards have a number on the back that you can call 24/7. If yours doesn’t, you can find the number on the company’s website. It’s also a good idea to cancel your card or see if they will change your card number so that whoever stole your card number cannot continue to use it. Make sure you call as soon as you discover the fraudulent activity. If you wait too long, you may become responsible for the charges.
Hopefully, the fraud did not affect your credit report. If it did, you need to contact the credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) if you want to fix your score. This is when the police report you obtained will come in handy. Dispute the incorrect items on your credit report (and there are many ways to do this: by mail, on the credit bureau’s website, etc.) and send in a copy of the police report as proof. You can also have a fraud alert placed on your account, meaning that whenever someone tries to open credit in your name, the lender is notified to call you to verify it. This will help protect you against future identity theft.