Credit fraud before and during the coronavirus pandemic

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This Aug. 11, 2019, photo shows Visa logos on credit cards in New Orleans. On Monday, Sept. 9, the Federal Reserve releases its July report on consumer borrowing. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) 2019 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book says credit card fraud in the United States rose 104% between the first quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020. It’s a staggering statistic, says creditcardisider.com’s Greg Mahnken, because between 2017 and 2019 credit card fraud only rose 27%.

An analysis of the FTC’s report found a major component of credit fraud can be attributed to new account fraud which has risen 88% since 2018, says Mahnken, a credit industry analyst. There were 246,000 reports of new account fraud.

New York was ranked 11th for identity theft in the FTC’s report. Credit card fraud accounted for 52% of identity theft with 36,000 victims in the state. New Yorkers lost $82.6 million from all fraud between 2019-2020.

The most effective way to prevent someone from opening a fraudulent credit account is to place a credit or security freeze with Transunion, Equifax, and Experian, the top three credit reporting agencies. Mahnken says it will not affect day to day transactions but it will prevent credit checks and applications for new credit. He says this service can be easily managed through the credit agency websites.

Looking at credit fraud information during the coronavirus pandemic released by the FTC, Mahnken says the top two credit scams to be used are online shopping and travel or vacation refunds. There have been more than 26,000 reports of online shopping credit fraud that cost people $15 million. More than 20,000 reports of travel/vacation refund fraud have been reported at a cost of $37.9 million.

Ways to learn dispute credit card fraud and errors in reporting can be found on Credit Card Insider’s website.

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