Once you have made the decision to file bankruptcy, there are many forms that will need to be completed, and you will need to include all your creditors in your paperwork. Requesting a credit report from one of the three main agencies (Trans Union, Equifax, and Experian) is a good way to ensure that you have listed everyone you owe money to. It is also a good way to ensure that everything listed on your report is accurate. It is also wise to continually monitor your credit report after your case is resolved to make sure that those debts show “discharged through bankruptcy” with a zero balance. Another benefit of keeping a close eye on your credit report is ensuring that you have not become of victim of identity theft. Credit card fraud is a crime where someone uses your credit card number to obtain cash or make fraudulent charges. If this happens to you, you will need to take some decisive action.
Types of Fraud
Criminals can attempt to get your personal financial information a number of ways. They will dig through your trash, steal you mail, use ATM skimming devices, and even attempt to trick you through phone calls or emails. Be alert, and guard your personal information carefully.
Fraudulent activity can be accomplished in many different ways. Someone could commit identity theft through obtaining, signing, using, or forging a credit or debit card that belongs to you. A thief could also assume your identity. This happens when a thief opens credit in your name. They can do this by gathering enough information about you to fill out a credit application. They could also attempt to take over an account that you already have opened. This is accomplished by the thief changing the mailing address on your credit card and then reporting it stolen. The credit card company will mail out a new credit card under a new account to the address provided. Now the thief has access to go on a spending spree and you are left to deal with the mess left behind.
A person can also commit credit card fraud by using their own card to make purchases they have no intention of paying back.
What do I do Now?
Noticing that you have been victimized by someone is the first step. Gather as much information as you can about the fraudulent charges, and notify the credit reporting agencies so they are able to put an alert on your credit report. Call the police and file a police report, providing as much information as possible to them. You never know if the person who committed the fraud may have been caught on a security camera. And lastly, work with your financial institution to get the charges resolved and off your record. If you need professional assistance, especially if you discover fraud as part of a bankruptcy, give me a call. I can help.