If after you’ve checked your credit report you find you might have been a victim of credit card fraud, there are a few things you need to do.
1. Cancel your card as soon as possible
If you’re a victim of credit card fraud, you need to contact the lender and cancel the card and the account as soon as possible. Note there’s no guarantee you’ll get any money back a fraudster has spent on your card, so it’s vital you act fast to stop further spending.
2. Check your transactions
You might have identified fraudulent spending on your credit card by checking your statements or looking at online banking. But, if that’s not the case, you should ask your lender when you cancel your card to go through your transactions. If there are any you don’t recognise, you should report them as fraudulent.
3. Try to get your money back
If you’re a victim of credit card fraud, it’s not always easy to get your money back. Banks and lenders must be satisfied you haven’t been negligent with your card and card details before they’ll refund you. Often, banks and lenders won’t take fraudulent cases at face value. For example, if spending on your card has happened in the same area as you, it’s likely you’ll have to prove it wasn’t you. Even if the spending happened in a different area — and you can prove you were somewhere different — banks and lenders will need to be convinced you’re not in cahoots with the fraudster. Banks and lenders look at patterns. If they’re happy the disputes you raise are genuine, they should refund you.
4. Correct any impact on your credit file
You need to check your credit report to see if the credit card fraud has had a negative effect on your credit rating. If it has, you should try and get it restored to how it was before the fraud happened. If the bank or lender rules you haven’t been negligent and you are a genuine victim of credit card fraud, they will be able to get in touch with the credit reference agencies to get your credit rating put right. But, they might not automatically do this. It’s your responsibility to get in touch with them and ask them to do it. Should the bank or lender rule you have been negligent, you might want to raise the case with the Financial Ombudsman Service. Often, correcting your credit file will be part of the settlement if the ombudsman rules in your favour.
5. Report it to Action Fraud
By reporting credit card fraud to Action Fraud, you could help put an end to fraudsters working in the area. When you report credit card fraud to them, you’ll get a crime reference number. This is to help keep track of your report. Action Fraud doesn’t have investigative powers; what they do is build your report and send it to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB). NFIB reviews the evidence, looks at patterns, and tries to follow viable leads. It can all help build a picture of fraudsters working in a particular area. If there’s enough evidence, NFIB will send it to a police force to investigate further.
6. Register for Protective Registration with CIFAS
If you’re concerned that fraudulent applications for credit services may be made in your name, you might also wish to sign up for Protective Registration with CIFAS (Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance System). This adds an additional layer of security to any applications made in your name as CIFAS member organisations are required to carry out additional verification checks before making their decision.
Protective Registration costs £25 for two years and could be a small price to pay for the peace of mind it can provide. CIFAS is the UK’s fraud prevention service and has over 400 member organisations that includes Banks, Credit card companies, Credit Reference Agencies, and more.