Fraud Awareness, Prevention, Reporting & Investigations Information

The resources listed below offer assistance to individuals for fraud awareness, prevention, reporting, investigations and enforcement.

Resources

To report credit related fraud contact one of the following Credit Bureaus:

Also, consumers have a right to an annual free credit report from each credit bureau.

To report fraud or a fraud attempt to law enforcement and/or the public, contact the appropriate reporting agency below (you may report to one or more, depending on the type of fraud and the way in which you were approached, e.g., by phone, through the U.S. mail, through the Internet or email, via texting on your cell phone, etc. )

  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – The nation’s consumer protection agency, accepts consumer complaints including complaints related to fraud and identity theft.
  • Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) – A joint effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, accepts online Internet crime complaints from people who believe they have been defrauded.
  • United States Postal Inspection Service – Pursues crimes related to the fraudulent use of the U.S. Mail.
  • National Consumer Leagues Fraud.org – A project of the National Consumers League, Fraud.org accepts reports on frauds made by mail, telephone or the Internet through their online complaint form. These complaints are shared with a network of more than 90 law enforcement and consumer protection agencies.
  • Better Business Bureau (BBB) – Although BBB does not have legal and policing powers, they provide information about marketplace fraud through alerts on scams to the public.

It’s important to report all frauds to the appropriate agencies in order to support enforcement against the perpetrators and to provide a means to help others become aware of predators.

What if You Are a Victim of Fraud

If you know you have been defrauded, we recommend taking the basic steps outlined below.

Credit Card Fraud

If your credit card number has been stolen or used fraudulently:

  1. Immediately notify the bank or company that issued the card.
  2. Inform them of any known fraudulent activity on your account.
  3. Have them block the card and close the account.
  4. Identify any other fraudulent activity that may be on your account.
  5. Complete any “claim” forms they request.
  6. If you are still in possession of the card, shred it or cut it into small pieces before throwing it away.

Debit Card Fraud

If your debit card number has been stolen or used fraudulently:

  1. Immediately notify your bank.
  2. Inform them of any known fraudulent activity on your account.
  3. Have them block the debit card number.
  4. Make sure none of your own checks have been refused payment (bounced) because the fraudulent activity reduced your balance.
  5. Identify any other fraudulent activity that may be on your account.
  6. Complete any “claim” forms they request.
  7. If you are still in possession of the card, shred it or cut it into small pieces before throwing it away.

Checking Account fraud

If your checking account number has been stolen or charged fraudulently:

  1. Immediately notify your bank.
  2. Inform them of any known fraudulent activity on your account.
  3. Have the bank close the checking account and issue you a new account number and debit card.
  4. Identify any other fraudulent activity that may be on your account.
  5. Make sure none of your own checks have been refused payment (bounced) because the fraudulent activity reduced your balance.
  6. Complete any “claim” forms they request.
  7. Destroy any remaining checks or debit cards you have for the account. Shred or cut them into small pieces.

Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when a criminal obtains personal information, including:

  • Your name
  • Your address (and perhaps address history)
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your driver’s license number
  • Your bank and card account numbers
  • Your mother’s maiden name
  • Your birth date and/or birth place

If a criminal has stolen your identity:

  1. Start a journal, documenting all of your activities related to discovering the theft and restoring your identity. This will be an invaluable resource to you as you make your way through what could become a very involved process.
  2. Contact one of the three major credit bureaus.
    1. Tell them you are a victim of identity theft.
    2. Have them place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit record. This will allow a Fraud Alert to be placed on your records at all three credit bureaus within 24 hours.
    3. Ask for a copy of your credit report.
  3. Contact the other two major credit bureaus and ask them to send you a copy of your credit report. Your records at each credit bureau may differ, so take the time to review all three reports independently for incorrect information.
  4. Contact your bank and other financial services companies with whom you deal to let them know that your identity was stolen and ask that they put a “Fraud Alert” on your account and customer file.
  5. Contact all companies you do not recognize listed on your credit reports.
  6. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Be sure to print a copy of the “ID Theft Complaint Form” for your records because you will need it when you file your police report.
  7. File a police report and keep a copy of it for your records. (If you have difficulty getting the police to take your report, follow the steps listed on the FTC website: DEFEND: RECOVER FROM IDENTITY THEFT)
  8. File an online complaint form with the National Consumers League at Fraud.org for frauds made by mail, telephone or the Internet.  Complaints are shared with a network of more than 90 law enforcements and consumer protection agencies.

Each identity theft presents its own unique issues. If you’re in the position of having to deal with an identity theft, we recommend the links below, which offer detailed information on identity crime: