A Guide to Personal Fraud from the Global Leader in Enterprise Fraud Prevention
Emailage focuses on fighting fraud at the enterprise level, but we ultimately do what we do to protect consumers like you. How? By working with companies to actively safeguard you from identity theft and fraudulent transactions.
Although we don’t offer services to protect against personal identity theft and fraud, we do point you in the right direction so you can quickly get the help you need to resolve fraud concerns.
Explore our complete guide on fraud protection for debit cards and credit cards, identity theft protection services , and other fraud protection services, tools and tips.
Discover what you can do to prevent fraud and identity theft.
You can take simple steps right now to prevent identity theft and fraud, including:
- Get your free credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com to check for unrecognizable accounts or charges.
- Make a habit of regularly reviewing your bank account and credit card transactions to see whether anyone has misused your account information or card.
- Double-check unexpected requests for money or personal information because scammers often pose as someone you might trust — even as the government, a family member or a company you’ve ordered from..
- Don’t always trust your caller ID, as scammers can fake where the call originates from. If someone asks for a payment or personal information, hang up and call a number you know to be connected with the company, organization or person.
- Sign up for the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) free scam alerts.
Watch how bad actors commit identity theft.
This informative video outlines some of the common tactics fraudsters use to steal your information in order to commit identity theft and to engage in fraudulent transactions.
“You have to prove to them you are who you say you are to a greater extent than the criminal ever had to do to be given goods and services.”
— Amy Krebs, a victim of identity theft on the process of getting fraudulent activity removed from her credit record
Look for the signs of fraud.
Some signs of fraud are well-known and obvious, such as seeing an unfamiliar withdrawal from your bank account, a charge from a vendor on your credit card you know you didn’t make or a new account showing up on your credit report.
While a lot of consumer focus is on identity theft protection and fraud protection for credit cards, it’s important to understand other signs of fraud that aren’t as widely recognized. Eight other red flags include:
- You stop receiving your bills or other pieces of regular mail.
- You have a check refused by a merchant.
- You receive a call from a debt collector about debts you know aren’t yours.
- You get bills from medical providers for services you didn’t use.
- You’re rejected by your health insurance company for a real medical claim because the records indicate you’ve reached your benefits limit.
- You’re rejected by a medical insurer because your medical records suggest you have a condition you don’t have.
- You’re notified by the IRS multiple tax returns were filed in your name or you have income from an unfamiliar source.
- You’re alerted your information was compromised in a data breach.
Like most consumers, you’re probably most worried identity thieves will take funds from your bank account or make charges on your credit cards once they’ve stolen your personal information. As the list above implies, the threat can be even greater.
Bad actors could open new utility accounts using your information or use your health insurance for their own medical treatment. They can even file a tax refund in your name to receive the refund due to you.
If your Social Security number, wallet, credit card, debit card or other personal information is lost, stolen or compromised, you can take steps to help prevent or mitigate the outcomes of identity theft and fraud.
Take these steps immediately if you become a victim of fraud.
As soon as you recognize your credit card is stolen or lost, or you suspect your credit card information has been stolen or compromised, be sure to report it to your financial institution.
If your debit card is lost or stolen or the information is stolen or compromised, report it to your bank or credit union as soon as possible to limit your liability. According to the FTC, you could be looking at the following losses if you don’t report the fraud case:
|When the report is made||Maximum loss|
|Report made before any fraudulent charges occur||$0|
|Within two business days of the loss or theft||$50|
|More than two business days after the loss or theft, but less than 60 days of receiving your statement||$500|
|Within 60 days or more of receiving your statement||Potentially unlimited|
Source: The Federal Trade Commission
You should also file an Identity Theft Report with the FTC as soon as you can, and you may want to file a police report as well.
Contact these agencies if you encounter fraud or identity theft issues.
After filing a report with the FTC, you should contact the national credit bureaus:
When contacting these bureaus, you can request fraud alerts, implement a credit freeze and withdraw from receiving prescreened credit offers.
Other agencies you may need to contact based on your specific case include:
- Internal Revenue Service for cases of fraud that relate to taxes
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General for instances of fraud that relate to healthcare
- Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General for fraud cases that include the misuse of a Social Security number
Understand these laws to help with identity theft and fraud protection.
Due to federal and most state laws, either your liability will be very low or you won’t be responsible for any debt acquired as a result of activity stemming from fraudulent new accounts .
Federal law stipulates that you would only have to pay up to $50 for the unauthorized use of your credit card. All unauthorized charges will be forgiven if you report the loss of your credit card or the occurrence of stolen credit card information before the bad actor makes any charges.
If you’re interested in learning more about the federal laws that pertain to fraud, you can review the following:
- Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act enforces companies’ responsibilities to uphold consumer privacy and the security of their customers’ personal information.
- The Gramm-Leach-Billey Act requires the FTC to safeguard consumers’ personal information held by banks and other financial institutions.
- The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998 designates identity theft as a federal crime and gives consumers certain rights when they are or suspect they are the victim of this type of fraud.
- The Justice for All Act protects victims of identity theft and fraud from the defendant and offers them the right to be involved in the end-to-end legal proceedings.
Additionally, numerous state laws place limitations on the liability for fraudulent checks from your account if you notify the financial institution quickly.
Know your rights if you’re affected by fraud.
If you’re recovering from identity theft, you have the right to:
- File an Identity Theft Report with the FTC.
- Institute a fraud alert on your credit report for one year.
- Add a seven-year extended alert on your credit report.
- Receive free copies of your credit report.
- Have fraudulent items expunged from your credit report.
- Dispute erroneous or fraudulent items that appear on your credit report.
- Cease reports from creditors and debt collectors that relate to fraudulent accounts.
- Obtain copies of documents related to your case.
- Cease contact from debt collectors.
Read the FTC’s comprehensive guide on how to file a report, document the case, work with credit bureaus, and stop creditors and debt collectors from filing reports or seeking collections.
You also have rights when the fraudster faces criminal charges in federal court. Under the Justice for All Act, you have the right to:
- Reasonable protection from the defendant
- Precise and timely notifications for public court proceedings, parole hearings related to the crime, or the release or escape of the convicted identity thief
- Be included in public court proceedings, unless the judge determines your testimony could change based on others’ testimonies
- Be heard at public court proceedings in the district court that involves the plea, sentencing, parole and/or release of the identity thief
- Discuss the case with the government’s attorney
- Receive complete and timely reimbursement as required by the legal proceedings
- Ensure proceedings are conducted with respect for your privacy
Additional rights can vary depending on where you live. Numerous states require businesses and organizations to alert those affected if the organization loses or misplaces specific kinds of personal information. Review the requirements of the consumer protection offices in your state, county or city to better understand your rights.
Outsmarting enterprise fraud to defend customers like you
We understand that, as a consumer, you want to protect yourself and know how your information is being used. That’s why we work with companies to help them safeguard customers like you. How? By using technologies with the email address at the core of our solutions to provide measures that help with identity theft protection and other types of fraud protection.
We help companies around the globe identify and outsmart fraudsters before they’re able to open an account or make a purchase using falsified information. You can confidently do business with our clients, including these companies: