Part of filing bankruptcy includes completing forms and listing all the pertinent details of your case, such as listing all of your creditors. While you may be able to look at past bills, it’s also wise to request copies of your credit report from the three main credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union.) This way, you can ensure that no creditors are inadvertently left off. Once your case is resolved, you’ll want to monitor your report. You need to make sure all of your debts that were included in your bankruptcy show a zero balance and are listed as “discharged through bankruptcy.”
Closely monitoring your report can also alert you to the possibility that you’ve been a victim of identity theft or credit card fraud. These crimes include when your credit card number is used by an unauthorized user to make purchases, or charges, or to obtain cash. It’s inconvenient to resolve credit card fraud, but you can clean up your report and get back on track.
Criminals are always on the lookout for new ways of ripping people off. They may acquire your personal financial information by stealing your mail or going through your trash for documents you have not shredded. More “advanced” crooks may use ATM skimming devices at gas pumps or other machines, and others may call or email to try to get you to disclose your personal information. Being aware of these schemes can help you to protect valuable information that could later be used to hurt you.
There are several categories and methods of credit card fraud. Identity theft is when an unauthorized user obtains, signs, uses, or forges your credit or debit card. Someone could also open a credit card in your name and, in a sense, assume your identity. Sometimes the thief will get enough identifying information about you to fill out a credit card application in your name. Others will take over an existing account by changing the mailing address on your account, and then later reporting the card stolen. Then the credit card company will mail them a brand new card, and you have their shopping spree mess to clean up. The real owner of a card could also commit fraud by making purchases they know they will not pay back. Vendors can also commit fraud by accepting cards they know are stolen or invalid.
How to Recover
If you discover that you’ve been a victim of identity theft, there are some specific steps you’ll need to take to get things resolved. First, gather as much information about the situation as possible. You can then contact the three credit reporting agencies so that they can put an alert on your report. File a police report as soon as possible; you never know if someone may have victimized others, and your story could help to make the case. Contact the bank that issued your credit card, as well as your other financial institutions. You want them to remove fraudulent charges and you need to alert the banks that more charges may be coming. If you’ve been considering bankruptcy, and then also find out credit card fraud is involved, you may need professional legal help. That where I am here to assist you.
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