Give your bank a call
First things first: reach out to your bank right away when you suspect fraud. There are a few key warning signs of bank fraud—like an unauthorized transactions, unknown loan documents in your name or an unreasonable denial of credit, for example. Even if you’re not absolutely certain, contact your bank to help sort things out. We encourage you to call ASAP even if you’re not positive something’s wrong.
Your bank may ask you to complete a legal form, provide documentation or give written confirmation of the disputed actions, depending on the situation. A bank representative will be able to tell you what you need to do and explain the process each step of the way. Also be sure to look for related communication via mail or email about next steps.
Contact the credit bureaus
You should also contact one of the three credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian or TransUnion – to place a fraud alert on your account.1 (You need to call only one of them, as each is required to tell the other two.) The free alert on your credit report lasts at least 90 days and requires any business to take additional steps to verify your identity before any credit accounts or loans can be opened in your name. This makes it much more difficult for anyone to use your personal information as their own.
Below are the phone numbers for the credit reporting agencies:
TransUnion phone number – 1-800-680-7289
Experian phone number – 1-888-397-3742
Equifax phone number – 1-888-766-0008
Watch all accounts for signs of bank fraud
It can be hard to stand by while your bank is investigating your claim, but there are a few things you can do to stay calm in the midst of possible fraud. You can monitor your accounts more closely for other suspicious activity, like a sudden stop in bills arriving via US mail (an identity thief could have changed your billing address) and review every statement carefully. There's no such thing as being too careful when looking over your transactions—in fact, sometimes thieves may test the waters by making small purchases with your debit or credit card before making much larger transactions months later.2
For more awareness, you can also set up alerts via text or email so you’ll know when your balance dips below a certain threshold.