How Do I Report Fraud?

by Kristin Lane ; Updated July 27, 2017

Sometimes simple clicking and entering information on a Web page is enough for an identity thief or scammer to get all the information he needs on you to take money fraudulently. Trust that gut feeling that creeps up on you when you know you've been the victim of a fraudulent company or had your identity stolen. Report the crime as soon as you notice it. Determine if you need to put a fraud alert on your credit profile for seven years.

Determine Fraud

So many online companies scam unknowing persons out of money with nothing of value offered in return through unbelievable offers and lots of fine print. If you suspect you have gotten into a questionable contract or given too much of your personal information out -- or worse, discovered charges on any of your accounts without your express consent -- you have become the victim of fraud. Trust your gut and take the next steps for reporting the fraudulent act.

Notify Your Creditor or Bank

Report the fraudulent charges or activity immediately to the company where the charges appeared. Report fraudulent online transactions the same way. Banks have been dealing with these companies enough to know whether or not the claim is legitimate.Tell them you suspect fraud and ask them to file a report. In most cases, when you mention fraud, the bank or creditor will automatically fill out the forms and do the investigation on your behalf.

Discover the Rabbit Hole

Get a copy of your credit report. Find out if any accounts have been opened in your name or if there is any unauthorized activity on your accounts. If yes, contact one of the three credit reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion or Equifax). Whichever one you choose will notify the other agencies of the fraud you experienced.

Place a Temporary or Permanent Alert

For serious fraud, place a seven-year fraud alert on your profile. This gives extra protection whenever you or anyone else tries to open new lines of credit in your name or with your social security number. For less serious fraud cases, place a temporary fraud alert on your name and social security number for 90 days. After the 90 days, the alert lifts automatically.