ACCC on How to Handle a Fraud Dispute

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National nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling explains the steps consumers should take if they experience fraud

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If you check your accounts regularly and notice an irregular charge, it is important to act quickly to protect yourself and halt any more unauthorized charges.

The unfortunate reality is that millions of consumers have their identities stolen every year. If a consumer falls victim to identity theft, it is essential that they know the necessary steps to take to dispute the fraud. To help consumers, national nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling explains the steps consumers must take if they experience fraud.

“Unfortunately, identity theft is prevalent, so it is important to know how to handle it,” said Steve Trumble, President, and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “If you check your accounts regularly and notice an irregular charge, it is important to act quickly to protect yourself and halt any more unauthorized charges.”

According to IdentityForce, 16.7 million consumers were victims of identity theft in 2017, a one million increase from 2016. Debt.com found that 7.5 percent of U.S. households have experienced identity theft and 22 percent of victims have experienced identity theft more than once. The survey also found that the average loss per incident is $5,130.

ACCC offers tips on how to handle a fraud dispute.

1. Call the bank or creditors – Depending on if the fraudulent activity happened to your bank account or credit card; consumers should call the bank or creditor to report the fraudulent activity and close or freeze the account. Consumers have 60 days to file a dispute.
2. Call the vendor – Call the vendor to dispute the charge. They should be able to help generate the report for the police.
3. Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – File a complaint with the FTC and complete a complaint letter and affidavit form.
4. Contact credit reporting agencies – Contact Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax and request a fraud alert on all reports.
5. File a police report – File a report with the police and indicate where the crime occurred. Get a copy of the report as evidence for re-securing identity and removing fraudulent charges.    
6. Set up a new account – If you had to close your account, be sure to open a new one and switch all direct deposits and automatic payments to the new account.
7. Check transactions daily – Check your transactions daily to monitor for unauthorized charges. If the charge is still pending, it should be easier to take care of.

ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:

  • For credit counseling, and student loan counseling call 800-769-3571
  • For bankruptcy counseling, call 866-826-6924
  • For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
  • Or visit us online at ConsumerCredit.com

About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management through credit counseling, debt management, bankruptcy counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling and financial education concerning debt solutions. To help consumers reach their goal of debt relief, ACCC provides a range of free consumer personal finance resources on a variety of topics including budgeting, credit and debt management, student loan assistance, youth and money, homeownership, identity theft, senior living, and retirement. Consumers can use ACCC’s worksheets, videos, calculators, and blog articles to make the best possible decisions regarding their financial future. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®). For more information or to access free financial education resources, log on to http://www.ConsumerCredit.com or visit http://www.consumercredit.com/financial-education.aspx

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Marissa Sullivan
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