wallet and credit card

I’m not sure this credit card bill is mine. What to do?

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Q. I received a credit card bill for a card that I didn’t recognize. At first I thought it might be an older card that changed its name, but I don’t think this was ever mine. What should I do?
— Confused

A. You’re going to have to do some research.

There could be fraud here, so you want to make sure you’re protected.

Do an online search for the credit card’s customer service number to see if it matches the information on the bill, Jerry Lynch, a certified financial planner with JFL Total Wealth Management in Boonton.

“It may be a fake bill that may look real with logos and customer service numbers,” he said. “If the numbers match, call the number, but if they don’t, call the number you find on Google and ask about the account and the balance. Does their response on where it is from make sense?”

If you have determined you did not make the charge, or if the account was established without your knowledge, report it to the credit card company and the credit bureaus, he said.

Next, run your credit report, Lynch said.

“This may be an indication that someone stole your credit info and set up a new account,” he said. “You may want to put on a credit freeze on your accounts to restrict people’s ability to set up new accounts in your name.”

“I am amazed at how many people pay bills without knowing what the bill is for,” he noted.

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This story was originally published on Oct. 1, 2021.

NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.

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