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4 Ways to Report Bank Fraud – wikiHow


Bank fraud takes many forms, from Nigerian letter schemes to paying you with a forged check to hacking a computer system to steal your bank account or debit card information. Criminals are constantly looking for new ways to trick you out of your hard-earned money, and once the transaction has ended it can be difficult to catch the perpetrator. Whether you are a victim of identity theft or your debit card information was hacked, if your bank account is compromised you must act fast to report the fraud and minimize your losses.[1]


Reporting to Your Bank

  1. Gather all the information you can about the transaction. Before you contact your bank, pull together any documents or other information you have so your bank can act quickly to help you minimize your losses.
    • At a minimum, make sure you have your bank account number and debit card number handy. If you think your information was stolen as part of a data breach at a retailer, it may be enough to simply tell your bank that you shopped at that location during the dates of the breach and your account may be compromised.[2][3]
  2. Find the correct contact number. Most banks have a specific hotline for reporting fraudulent activity, but the number may differ depending on whether the fraud involves personal or business debit cards, credit cards, or online banking.
    Report Bank Fraud Step 2.jpg
    • For example, Wells Fargo has several different toll-free phone numbers depending on whether your account is a business account or a personal account, and the specific product to which the suspected fraud applies.[4]
    • Typically banks have a toll-free number you can call at any time 24 hours a day, so you can alert your bank the moment your debit card or account information has been compromised.[5]
    • If you can’t find the number, you also can call the general customer service number or stop into a branch and speak to someone personally.
    • After you’ve called and reported the suspected fraud, send a written letter that summarizes your report of the fraud and what the bank representative said would be done to counteract it.[6]
  3. Have your debit card cancelled. Particularly if your debit card number was stolen or caught up in a data breach at a retailer, the card should be cancelled and a new card issued as soon as possible to avoid further loss.
    Report Bank Fraud Step 3.jpg
    • Federal law limits your liability for transactions processed with your stolen card number after you report it.[7]
    • It’s important for you to act as quickly as possible once you learn of the fraud or theft. You can only be held liable for up to $50 of unauthorized charges if you report the fraud within two days of its occurrence. However, if you wait longer than that, you may be liable for up to $500.[8]
    • Additionally, federal law gives your bank 10 days to investigate fraud involving your bank account and restore any stolen funds. In the meantime, you’ll be out any money that was removed from your account to cover a fraudulent transaction. In contrast, you can withhold payment during credit card disputes.[9]
  4. Monitor your bank account. Even after you’ve reported the fraud, review your account activity regularly to make sure there aren’t any further unauthorized transactions.
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    • If you have online access to your account, check the transactions at least once a day. Report even the smallest unauthorized transaction right away.
    • Keep in mind that fraudulent charges may continue to occur even months after the original incident of fraud.[10]

Reporting to Law Enforcement

  1. Find the contact information for your local police department. Your local police department has a non-emergency number you can call to file a report, and some have dedicated hotlines for reporting financial fraud.
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    • You can always walk into your local precinct and file a report in person. Additionally, some police departments have online forms you can fill out and submit to report financial fraud.
    • Contact information for local law enforcement agencies nationwide is available at
  2. Gather all of your information about the fraud. Prepare to submit your report by organizing all your information and making copies of any relevant documents.
    Report Bank Fraud Step 6.jpg
    • You might want to review your state’s law to understand what constitutes fraud. Police investigate crimes and won’t conduct further investigation into your report if it doesn’t provide any evidence on its face that a crime was committed.
    • Generally, criminal fraud is theft by deception. The person or business must have intentionally provided you with false information to deceive you into giving them financial information so they could steal from you.[11]
  3. Submit your report. Once you have all of your information organized, provide a report to the police department of exactly what happened.
    Report Bank Fraud Step 7.jpg
    • Include a chronological description of everything that occurred, including any behavior or statements that led you to believe the transaction was fraudulent.
    • Make sure your description is as detailed as possible, with dates and times if you can remember those specifically.
    • If the bank fraud involves possible identity theft, you should submit your report in person and bring along proof of your identity and current address such as a driver’s license.[12]
  4. Request a copy of the police report for your records. Not only will you need a copy for your records, you also may need to submit a copy of the report, or the reference number for the report, to your bank or other entities as you work to resolve the situation.
    Report Bank Fraud Step 8.jpg
    • If you’ve already talked to a bank representative about the fraudulent activity on your account, follow up by providing a copy of the police report to your bank as well.[13]
    • If you have to file any affidavits with any other businesses or banks, you also will need to attach a copy of the police report.[14]
  5. Cooperate with any further investigation. As police officers look into your report, they may contact you for more information about the activity.
    Report Bank Fraud Step 9.jpg
    • Assuming you have a reference number for your report, you can call the police department to check on the status of your complaint or find out if any investigation is taking place.

Submitting a Complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

  1. Visit the CFPB website. The CFPB has information on federal law regulating financial institutions, and allows you to file a complaint if you have a problem with the way your bank handled your situation.
    Report Bank Fraud Step 10.jpg
    • In addition to helping you resolve your specific complaint, the CFPB also compiles a database of complaint information for public consumption. The complaint information included in the database does not include any of your personal information.[15]
    • Complaint information also is shared with federal and state law enforcement agencies.[16]
  2. Choose the correct product or service. As you begin your complaint, you must first let the CFPB know the banking or financial service to which your complaint relates.11.
    Report Bank Fraud Step 11.jpg
    • If your complaint relates to your debit card or checking account, you typically would choose “bank account or service.” You may wish to choose a different option if a credit card was also involved.[17]
  3. Gather information about the incident you want to report. The CFPB allows you to attach documents to your complaint, so if you have records of any correspondence with your bank, you may wish to include copies.
    Report Bank Fraud Step 12.jpg
    • Include any information that would help the CFPB understand the problem you’re having so they are better able to assist you.[18]
  4. Write your complaint. Include contact information for yourself and your bank and a detailed description of what happened.
    Report Bank Fraud Step 13.jpg
    • The CFPB will be forwarding your complaint to your bank, so there must be enough information for your bank to identify you and work with the CFPB to resolve your problems.[19]
  5. Review and submit your complaint. Before you submit, you should review the information you included and make sure it’s complete and accurate, then print a copy of your complaint for your records.
    Report Bank Fraud Step 14.jpg
    • You also can submit a complaint to the CFPB by calling 855-411-CFPB.[20]
    • After you submit your complaint, you’ll receive a confirmation email from the CFPB with log-in information so you can track your complaint’s status.[21]
  6. Wait for your bank’s response. After you submit your complaint, the CFPB will forward it to your bank, which has 15 days to respond both to you and to the CFPB regarding the issue.
    Report Bank Fraud Step 15.jpg
    • Banks are generally expected to resolve a complaint within 60 days.[22]
    • The CFPB will send you an email notification when there’s a change in your complaint’s status or any new information is added. This way you don’t have to keep logging in and checking.[23]
  7. Review the bank’s response and provide feedback. When the bank responds to your complaint, the CFPB gives you the opportunity to provide feedback regarding how the bureau handled the issue.
    Report Bank Fraud Step 16.jpg
    • Depending on your problem, your bank may communicate with you directly to resolve the situation, or may communicate through the CFPB.[24]
    • The CFPB may determine that another agency is better able to assist you with your issue. If that’s the case, the CFPB will update you on the status of your complaint and forward the information to that agency.[25]

Reporting to the Federal Trade Commission

  1. Visit the FTC’s Complaint Assistant website. The FTC maintains a website where you can file complaints about individuals or businesses that engage in fraudulent activity.
    Report Bank Fraud Step 17.jpg
    • Although regulatory agencies such as the FTC don’t investigate or resolve individual complaints, they compile your information into databases that are used by federal, state, and local law enforcement to uncover patterns of criminal activity.[26]
  2. Select the appropriate category and sub-category. Before you submit your complaint, you must first place it in one of the FTC’s categories.
    Report Bank Fraud Step 18.jpg
    • If you’re unsure about where to place your complaint, you can use the sub-categories to better understand the types of complaints within each category. There is an “other” category if the suspected fraud you’ve encountered doesn’t fit into one of the FTC’s categories, or isn’t accurately described by any of the sub-categories.[27]
  3. Enter information about the suspected fraud. The FTC complaint form includes space for you to enter details about yourself, the individual or company that perpetrated the fraud, and details about the incident.[28]
    Report Bank Fraud Step 19.jpg
    • You don’t have to provide personal or contact information for yourself. However, if you choose to remain anonymous, the FTC or other regulatory or law enforcement agencies will be unable to contact you if your complaint becomes the focus of further investigation.[29]
    • As part of the complaint process, you have the opportunity to describe the fraudulent incident in your own words. As you do so, avoid including any personal details or sensitive information such as your bank account or Social Security number in the description itself.[30]
  4. Review your complaint. The FTC gives you the opportunity to look over all the information you included before you submit it and make any changes.
    Report Bank Fraud Step 20.jpg
    • Once you’re satisfied that the information you entered is complete and accurate to the best of your knowledge, you should print a copy of your complaint for your records.[31]
  5. Submit your complaint to the FTC. Your complaint will be added to a nationwide database available to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies that investigate and prosecute fraud.[32]
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Source: Wiki How