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Follow Up on Potential Fraud
October 31, 2013
We have been discussing a 3 step process for easily protecting ourselves from identity theft which includes blocking information flow, monitoring account activities through alert features and statement reviews, and finally fraud follow up when we notice unauthorized transactions such as purchases and address change. We covered the first 2 steps in previous newsletters and we continue with the 3rd and last identity protection step in this issue.
As we diligently review account activity by paying attention to alert notifications received from banks and credit monitoring services, and by going over periodic account statements online or offline, we may come across transactions which we do not recognize and therefore we must take the necessary actions to investigate, dispute and clear them for good. When we first notice an unauthorized activity, we must take immediate actions. Even a slight doubt about whether or not we initiated the transaction should at least make us take the next steps for finding out more. It is possible that we don’t remember a transaction or a previously scheduled payment which is OK for as long as we take to necessary steps to clear these items. Therefore, if we assess that a change alert relates to a consumer credit report, credit card account or our bank account, we must promptly contact the appropriate party to inquire about or dispute the transaction. We must always record the nature of our discussions like name of the person, date, time, and conclusion of our discussions. If we assess that the transaction is related to fraud, we then must report the case to the appropriate authorities like the police department and keep all official documents until the case is resolved. We must also work with the affected organization to identify the next steps to prevent further damage such as replacing the old credit card with a new one. Each fraud case may require slightly different steps to resolve which may include contacting the merchant, the bank, or credit reporting agency. The worst thing to do when we are not sure about a transaction is nothing. Any timely follow up action beats non-action or delayed action, and sometimes we may have to call multiple parties until our case is resolved but it’s all worth it at the end as fraud responsibility shifts to consumers as time passes and no action is taken.
Until next time, be identity safe,
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