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If you have credit cards, there's a good chance that sooner or later you could be a victim of credit card fraud.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, credit card fraud has been the most common form of identity theft since 2017 and it is getting worse. The FTC says that the number of reported thefts increased by 15% from the fourth quarter of last year to the first quarter of 2022. In November 2021, Security.org reported that 127 million American adults, nearly half the total in the U.S., have had a fraudulent charge at least once on their credit cards.
Credit card theft takes a variety of forms. Most obviously, if a thief gets their hands on your physical cards they might run up a big tab before you discover the cards are missing. Second, fraudsters constantly find new ways to dupe people using email, text, and phone messages. Third, data breaches at retail companies, credit bureaus, and elsewhere provide thieves with personal information that they can use to open credit card accounts in victims' names.
While this sounds ominous, here is some good news:
The costs could be higher for thefts and compromises of debit and ATM cards, however. The FTC says it's important for consumers who lose those cards to notify the bank or credit union that issued the card as soon as possible. Here are the important deadlines to know if your debit or ATM card is stolen:
It can be a shock when you realize your credit card has been hacked, but you will need to take rapid action. Here are some of the immediate steps you should take when you realize you've been victimized:
Although there are protections to limit your economic loss if you've been victimized by a credit card scammer, it's still a headache. In addition to the phone calls to credit card companies, banks, police, and credit bureaus, you'll need to cancel your current card, wait for its replacements in the mail, and then swap the new number into autopay and other payment accounts connected to the old cards.
Once the dust settles and your life is back in order, a few helpful tips may help you avoid another hassle:
Credit cards can make our lives much easier. But they are also targets of people who want to make your life miserable. It pays to be vigilant.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
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