Q: What is an "Affidavit of Forgery"?
A: Definition: An "Affidavit of Forgery" is a notarized sworn statement attesting the signature or information appearing on the questioned document is a forgery, and not authorized by the account holder. The account holder MUST provide an Affidavit of Forgery before criminal charges can be filed against any suspected criminal. An affidavit must accompany each forged or counterfeited item. If you have 10 forged checks, there must be 10 affidavits. Law Enforcement will provide a blank affidavit for you. You may use this form or obtain one from your financial institution.
Q: Why if my checks are being forged, or credit card is being used fraudulently, can't I file charges against someone?
A: The State Attorney's Office requires the person or business suffering the monetary loss to report the offense. This applies to forgery and credit card abuse.
(a) If your checks are stolen and one is cashed at Tom Thumb, TOM THUMB must report the crime to Law Enforcement because Tom Thumb will suffer the monetary loss.
Q: What if the bank doesn't credit my checking account or credit card?
(b) If your Visa card was used to make a purchase with out your approval, the store accepting the credit card must report the offense to Law Enforcement.
A: If the bank doesn't credit your account, you sustain the loss, which requires you to report the offense to Law Enforcement.
Q: My checks or credit cards were stolen in the mail. Can I report them stolen?
A: Yes, you can report the theft to Law Enforcement and to the U.S. Postal Inspector. They have jurisdiction for investigating thefts involving the U.S. mail.
Q: What if my checks or credit cards are stolen from my purse?
A: Report the incident to the Law Enforcement Agency where the theft occurred. The Financial Crimes Unit only investigates cases involving the passing of forged or counterfeit checks or the fraudulent use of a credit card.
Q: What do I do if someone uses my identity to open a charge account or checking account in my name?
1. Immediately contact the issuer of the credit, the credit card company, such as American Express or Visa, a department store, or a bank. We also recommend contacting someone who works in the "LOSS PREVENTION" department for the company, instead of someone in their customer service department.
2. When your American Express, Visa, or any other card is used to purchase merchandise, you should also contact the store where the card was used. Again, contact someone who works in "LOSS PREVENTION" for the store and not someone in customer service.
3. Contact one of the three (3) credit reporting companies and report the incident to each of them. (Please refer to phone numbers provided below)
Q: How do I contact the credit bureaus or the check verification companies?
- Ask them to put an alert on your credit report, which acts as a warning to potential creditors.
- Add a security statement to your report, requesting that all potential creditors should call prior to granting new credit in your name. This may make it more difficult for you to obtain a loan, especially instant credit.
- Call the Social Security Administration to report the fraudulent use of your number. They may, as a last resort, issue you a new number.
- Immediately contact the bank where the account has been opened. Again, you should contact someone working in the "LOSS PREVENTION" department for the bank, instead of someone in their customer service department.
- Contact the store where the check was passed, contacting someone in the "LOSS PREVENTION" department for the store, not someone in customer service.
- Contact Telecheck and other check verification companies reporting the matter to them.
A: Credit Bureaus:
- Trans Union Fraud Victim Assistance 800-680-7289
- TRW/Experian Consumer Fraud Assistance 800-301-7195
- Equifax Consumer Fraud Unit 800-525-6285
Check Verification Companies:
Q: How can I reduce my risk of becoming a victim of fraud?
- Telecheck 800-366-2425
- National Processing Co. 800-526-5380
*** Make ALL your notifications by telephone, and in writing.
A: You can reduce the risk of becoming a victim of fraud by following the advice below:
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- Don't use your birth date or mother's maiden name as a password for your accounts.
- Avoid writing your account numbers on your checks when paying your credit card bills. If a criminal steals your monthly bank statement, these canceled checks will give the criminal all the information he or she needs to commit fraud.
- Protect your Social Security number. Be careful to whom you give it. Do NOT put it or your drivers license number on your checks.
- Shred your credit card receipts, bank statements and any mail showing your name and address before throwing away in the trash.
- Request credit reports from each of the credit bureaus, checking for discrepancies, on a regular basis.