What to Do If Your Credit Card Is Cloned?

A skimmer could lift the data right off youcard withr out your knowledge.
i Burke/Triolo Productions/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Credit card cloning, also known as “skimming,” is a crime with increasing prevalence thanks to technological advances. The equipment necessary to skim the data from your credit card is small enough to fit in a pocket. If your credit card is cloned, knowing your rights and recourse will be important for salvaging your credit.

Fraud Alert

The three major credit bureaus will attach a fraud alert on your credit report to minimize future fraud. Call each of the three major credit bureaus to report the cloned card. Call Experian at 888-397-3742. Call TransUnion at 800-888-4213. Call Equifax at 800-685-1111. Request a fraud alert on your credit report. This will ensure that any future creditors who check your credit with one of the credit bureaus will see the fraud alert. The creditors will have to contact you for permission before extending credit in your name.

Electronic Fund Transfer Act

Credit card cloning falls under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, protecting you from theft from skimming. According to the act, you have 60 days from the date of the first statement with an unauthorized transaction to report the fraud. By staying vigilant every month to make sure that every transaction on your credit card statements is valid, you will be able to catch any fraudulent transactions before they reach the 60-day point.

Finding the Fraudulent Transactions

Check through all credit card statements you receive to find the fraudulent transactions. Circle all fraudulent transactions so you can follow up on them. Contact each creditor through the customer service department to dispute the transaction when you find fraudulent transactions. The creditor will probably require that you submit a written dispute statement for all transactions you are disputing. Follow the instructions you receive from the creditor and mail the dispute statements to each creditor using registered mail with a return receipt request.

Make a Police Report

Call the police to submit a report about the crime. Provide all the pertinent details about the theft, including the fraudulent transactions that you’ve found on your credit card statements. After you receive a copy of the report, you could submit it to the credit bureaus to prove your fraud alert status, if necessary.

FTC Complaint

Visit the Federal Trade Commission website to submit an ID Theft Complaint Form. By providing the FTC with this information, you may help investigators find patterns of criminal activity. Fill in all the fields of the complaint form on the website, proceeding through each page. Describe the situation carefully and completely.

Stay Vigilant

Continue to monitor your credit card statements carefully every month to make sure that you catch every transaction. Now that your credit has suffered this violation, you need to monitor your finances with a magnifying glass so that nothing slips past you.

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