Credit cards offer people a lot of financial flexibility, like making seamless purchases and repaying your balance in the future. However, unfortunately, some thieves will try to open credit cards with other people’s credentials.
They can spend money with cards they opened in your name, which can negatively impact your credit. Consumers do not have a quick fix for this issue, and scammers may promise immediate credit score recovery if you use their fraudulent services.
Knowing what to do if someone opens a credit card in your name will reduce the headaches you experience while helping you get back on the path to financial recovery sooner. Keep reading to learn how to respond if you end up in this situation.
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How to find out if someone opened a credit card in your name
Thieves don’t announce themselves because their goal is to operate undetected. However, there are various resources that consumers can take advantage of when it comes to figuring out if someone has stolen their identity. You can use the following sources to determine if someone stole your identity or if it was a false alarm.
Review your credit reports
Credit reports contain valuable information about your credit history. Some people will request their credit reports in an effort to check for errors and then dispute them.
This process can increase your score, but it’s not the only reason to take out a credit report. This document will show you your credit activity and it can also reveal whether or not someone else has access to your information. You should immediately report any unfamiliar accounts that appear on your credit report.
Contact your credit card issuer’s fraud department
Your credit card issuer’s fraud department can help you close or freeze the suspicious account. You can then share information from your credit report and have them take action. If you do not freeze or close the account, the pain might continue, especially if the thief continues tapping into your credit.
Report the identity theft
Consumers have to report identity theft in order to be reimbursed. You can tell your credit card issuer and then file a report with the FTC. The FTC addresses identity theft recovery and provides useful resources to help people avoid identity theft in the future.
Consider placing a fraud alert or credit freeze
All three credit bureaus will continue to update your credit history as new transactions are made. Fraudulent transactions will continue to impact your credit as well, unless you inform the credit bureaus. Alerting each credit bureau about fraud and freezing your credit will limit the damage as you get yourself on the path to recovery.
Dispute any charges made in your name
Disputing charges will help you reclaim your money if you file the dispute within the right time frame. Debit cardholders must dispute charges and notify their issuers about fraud within 60 days of the transaction. Credit cardholders have 120 days to dispute charges and potentially receive their money back.
What to do if a family member opened a credit card in your name
Identity thieves are not always in the form of someone you don’t know or a stranger in another country. According to the Federal Trade Commission, 9% of identity theft incidents arise when family members take advantage of each other.
People who are guilty of identity theft will rightfully face criminal charges, even if they are family. While you might not want to report a family member for fraud, the truth of the matter is that you will have to report the incident in order to protect yourself from liabilities they have put on you.
How to manage and prevent identity theft
Identity theft is a serious issue that doesn’t stop with credit. An identity thief may obtain other pieces of information pertaining to your identity, so stopping them as soon as possible can help you avoid significant trouble in the future.
It’s important to monitor every area of your finances instead of only looking at your credit report. You can use these protective measures to manage and prevent identity theft.
Close all new accounts opened in your name
Closing new accounts that were opened in your name will limit an identity thief’s ability to damage your credit and obtain free money at your expense. You should keep an eye out for new bank accounts, loans and other accounts that look suspicious.
Double check your debit cards
Some identity thieves will obtain your debit card details and start spending at will. That said, not all of them will splurge right away. They could start slowly by making small transactions as a way of testing the waters and hoping you won’t notice.
Make sure you check your debit card right away since you only have a limited window of opportunity to get your money back with debit cards. You have to report suspicious transactions within 60 days of receiving your banking statement, and if you report suspicious transactions after 60 days, you may be liable for the charges.
Acting quickly limits the damage that you will sustain at the hands of an identity thief. When you do so, your swift actions can get you off the hook for certain expenses. Leaving the issue alone can lead to long-term financial ruin, and the identity thief may perform illegal actions under your alias. Some innocent people have been arrested because of what an identity theft did under their name, so be careful and put yourself first right away.
Safeguard your personal information
Identity thieves will use your personal information, including your name, birthdate and Social Security number, to masquerade as you. Be cautious about anyone who asks for your personal information.
Make sure you check your credit report each year to ensure nothing suspicious happens to you behind the scenes. The authorities can help you if you are the victim of identity theft, though it is your responsibility to protect yourself to the best of your ability to avoid having to file a report.
Protect your finances
Identity theft is a serious threat that looms over everyone. You never know when it could happen to you, so safeguarding your personal information and staying on top of your finances will help you quickly detect fraudulent activity.
From there, you can then follow up with the appropriate actions. Identity theft protection is part of fortifying your finances, resulting in your wealth growing over time.
How can I find out if someone got a loan in my name?
If you think someone has taken out a loan in your name, you can request a credit report and review your credit activity. You should immediately ask about suspicious loans and request that they be closed if you were not the one who took them out.
What do I do if a family member opens a credit card in my name?
You will have to report identity theft to get protection and possibly avoid responsibility for the charges, depending on when you make your claim. Anyone who participates in identity theft can face criminal charges, including family members.
How can someone open a credit card in my name?
An identity thief would have to obtain personal details such as your name, birthdate and Social Security number in order to open a credit card in your name. However, it is a federal crime to do this, and it can result in jail time when the thief is caught for their behavior.