Account holders of lost or stolen bank checks that are used in forgeries could be held liable for losses related to the forgery if you do not notify the bank, in a timely manner, that the check was lost or stolen, or if you do not monitor your account statements and promptly report an unauthorized transaction.
If someone is using bank checks they have stolen from you or they have set up a bank account in your name; contact the major check verification companies listed below to request that they notify retailers using their databases not to accept the lost or stolen checks, or ask your bank to notify the check verification service with which it does business.
If you know that a particular merchant has received a check stolen from you, contact the verification company that the merchant uses.
Chex Systems Scan
Phone: 800-328-5121 Phone: 800-262-7771
Phone: 800 552-1900 Phone: 800 366-2425
If you report the loss before the credit card is used, the card issuer cannot hold you responsible for any unauthorized charges. If a thief uses your credit card before you report it missing, the most you will owe for unauthorized charges is $50 per card. This is true even if the thief uses your credit card at an ATM machine to obtain a cash advance.
For any accounts that have been fraudulently accessed or opened, contact the security departments of the appropriate creditors or financial institutions. Close these accounts. Put passwords on any new accounts they open and do not use your mother’s maiden name, a relative or Social Security number.
ATM and Debit Cards
Be aware that ATM and debit cards do not always allow the same protections as credit cards. If you fail to report unauthorized charges within a timely manner, you could be held liable for the charges.
- If you report an ATM or debit card missing before it is used without your permission, your financial institution cannot hold you responsible for any unauthorized withdrawals.
- If you report your ATM or debit card lost or stolen within two business days of discovering the loss or theft, your liability is limited to $50.
- If you report your ATM or debit card lost or stolen after two business days, but within 60 days after a statement showing an unauthorized withdrawal, you can be liable for up to $500 of what a thief withdraws.
- If you wait more than 60 days, you could lose all the money that was taken from your account after the end of the 60 days and before you report the card missing.
Obtaining Credit Account Information
If unauthorized credit or financial accounts are detected during the inspection of the victim’s credit report, those accounts should be immediately closed by the victim contacting the credit account holder. The victim should also provide the account holder with a verbal and written request for information concerning the unauthorized account. Information about the account is available to victims of identity theft at no charge under Section 609(e) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. § 1681(g)). The attached form can be used as guide to making requests for information about the accounts, which will benefit the identity theft victim in clearing related credit problems and the same information may provide investigative leads to law enforcement officers for additional research.