Help Desk FAQ

Credit cards


What should I do if someone uses my personal information to open credit accounts?

Credit card fraud is committed using a stolen credit card or credit card account information. 

If you are a victim of credit card fraud, your first step should be to obtain a police report. Next, fill out the ID Theft Affidavit offered by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and send it, along with a copy of the police report, to each creditor with fraudulent accounts under your name. Using these same two documents (police report and affidavit), dispute the fraudulent accounts with the three major credit reporting agencies to get them taken off your credit reports.

To place a fraud alert on your credit reports, contact any one of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax: 800-525-6285; Experian: 888-397-3742; TransUnion: 800-680-7289) and that agency will notify the other two. A fraud alert notifies potential creditors that you have been a victim of fraud and that the creditor should take additional steps to verify the identity of anyone applying for credit in your name.

A credit freeze is a much more stringent measure of protection. It denies access to your credit file to anyone who does not have the access code or PIN. If a potential creditor cannot access your credit report or score, it typically will deny the credit application. Freezing your credit report is free, but you have to do it with all three credit reporting agencies. 

Read Consumer Action’s publications on freezing your credit and ID theft and account fraud for more information. The Identity Theft Resource Center has useful information for victims of ID theft.




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