Types of credit fraud

Credit fraud is a broad term for the use of a credit card (or any comparable type of credit) to buy goods or services with the intention of evading payment. Credit fraud includes:

  • Identity theft: the unauthorized use of personal identification information to commit credit fraud or other crimes
  • Identity assumption: long-term victimization of identification information
  • Fraud spree: unauthorized charges on existing accounts

Just as there are various types of credit fraud, there also are different ways that credit thieves gather your personal information:

  • Using lost or stolen credit cards
  • Stealing from your mailbox
  • Looking over your shoulder during transactions
  • Going through your trash
  • Sending unsolicited email
  • Making false telephone solicitations
  • Looking at personnel records

Discovering Fraud

There are several warning signs that credit fraud may be occurring:

  • Your credit report contains inquiries or information about accounts that did not open
  • Strange charges show up on billing statements
  • Bills arrive from unknown or unfamiliar sources
  • You receive calls from creditors or collection agencies