How can credit card fraud affect your credit score?

Have you or is someone you know ever been a victim of credit card fraud? What were some of the consequences you had to deal with after the unfortunate incident? Wish you knew more about this type of crime?

Credit card fraud is one of the most common and simplest forms of identity theft. In essence, this happens when someone spends using your credit card information. Most commonly, fraudsters will use your information to pay for their restaurant or hotel bills, get groceries or make online purchases.

Interestingly, this type of fraud can also happen when your pre-approved credit card offers fall into the wrong hands–fraudsters need only to get these out of your mailbox or trash and mail them in with a change of address request and start spending. A person who has access to your personal identifying information, including your social security number, birthdate and work tax ID can even apply for a credit card using your name if they want to.

More often than not, victims of this type of scheme don’t realize someone’s been misusing their information until credit card companies start demanding for payments, during which your credit score affected.

How it affects your credit score

Needless to say, your credit score is a very important piece of information. It is a key to appearing like a financially responsible individual in the eyes of lenders and other companies. Like any other forms of ID theft, credit card fraud can negatively affect credit score.

Here are some ways credit card fraudsters’ actions can cause negative effects on your credit score:

1. Credit checks. Every time someone applies for a credit card in your name, credit card companies are likely to look at your credit report. It is important to understand that credit checks made by companies appear on your credit report and causes your credit score to go down by a couple of points.

2. Unpaid credit cards. It is not uncommon knowledge that a lot of identity thieves–as oppose to stealing your card–would opt to apply for a credit card using your information. Ask yourself this: what are the chances that the fraudster, after getting the new card, would make any effort to pay the amount he used? Of course, the consequences for his actions fall on your shoulders. Each time a month of non-payment passes, your credit score goes plunges.

The danger of shopping online

Online shopping fraud is one of the most common forms of credit card fraud as making purchases over the internet don’t usually require PIN numbers. For years now, authorities and financial institutions have been trying to find ways to prevent credit card fraud when shopping online, but to little avail.

For most banks and credit card companies, the online version of credit card fraud is no different from its counterpart in the physical world. This is why many card issuers nowadays are choosing to put security measures in place to protect both their clients and themselves, including credit card alerts and the “Verified by Visa” service.

Conclusion

Fraudsters are getting more and more creative in terms of finding new tactics to get their hands on the information they need to do their dirty work. Now more than ever, protection is essential. What you will get from credit protection is the peace of mind that someone out there is looking out for your back.

Amy is an active blogger who is fond of sharing interesting finance related articles to encourage people to manage and protect their finances. She also covers topics on why should we monitor credit regularly and how credit monitoring helps.

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