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If you are a victim of fraud, follow these steps.

Step 1: Identify the type of fraud.

You will want to gather some information to determine the type of fraud you’ve experienced:

  • The amount of money taken, and in what form (credit card versus cash, etc.)
  • How the transaction was processed
  • The geographic location
  • Accounts accessed
  • Whether the fraud occurred online

Step 2: Close accounts.

Contact your financial institution for clear instructions on closing your account, obtaining a new debit or credit card and changing your login ID and password.

Step 3: Gather documentation.

You may be able to obtain financial restitution via a legal process, but documentation is required to support your case. This may include:

  • All written communication from the scammer
  • Documentation showing transactions related to the crime, e.g., bank statements, canceled checks, and receipts for money orders or cashier’s checks
  • Written notes of the actions you’ve taken through the reporting process. This includes phone logs that show whom you spoke to, when, and what was said about the crime. Don’t forget to add any written correspondence you receive as a result of the communication.

Step 4: Make a formal report.

In addition to your credit card company or financial institution, there may be other entities that you should alert:

  • Contact local law enforcement and your state’s attorney general. You will likely need a police report to file an insurance claim, submit a fraud alert to a credit bureau, or to comply with a request for evidence from your credit card company.
  • Contact each of the major credit bureaus to add a fraud alert request to your file. A fraud alert prevents the opening of new lines of credit.
  • If the fraud is related to a financial product or service, you may wish to file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • If the scammer sent you a check or other communication via the United States Mail, contact the United States Postal Inspection Service.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center, as applicable.