ITRC Solution 30
Clearing Financial Account Takeover
If you discover fraudulent account activity on a billing statement or by a collection notice for purchases and/or services you did not receive, it is necessary to take the following steps:
- Stolen credit cards, checks, ATM or debit cards – Contact the financial institution immediately and close the affected accounts. Put strong passwords on any new accounts you open. If you never made a copy of the card, you should be able to find a 24/7 phone number on the back of a billing or bank account statement.
- Account Takeover – If a bank, credit card or debit account has been taken over by another person (charges you didn't make that appear on your monthly statements), close the account and open a new one with a strong password. In most cases you need to notify the company (bank or credit card issuer) within 30 days, so act contact them as soon as you notice the fraudulent activity.
NOTE: It is vital to check statements monthly as few financial institutions allow a “grace” period longer than the contractual agreement (on the back of your monthly statement).
If checks are involved, see ITRC Fact Sheet FS 126 – Checking Account Takeover and Check Fraud for details. A strong password on the account may help to deter a thief from changing the billing address or adding a name to the account so be sure to use capitalized and lower case letters, numbers and special characters whenever possible.
- Use ITRC Letter Form LF 100-4 to assist you in clearing up this fraudulent activity. ITRC Fact Sheet 100 will also provide valuable information on organizing your case, helping you understand with whom you need to speak, and how to follow through with documenting this situation.