What Is Credit Fraud?
Credit fraud is the criminal use of someone else's personal credentials, as well as their credit standing, to borrow money or use credit cards to purchase goods or services with no intention of repaying the debt.
Credit card fraud is the most prevalent type of identity theft.
The person whose credit is misappropriated typically ends up with unpaid debt in their name. While this can eventually be sorted out, the process takes time and effort, and may cause credit scores to suffer temporarily and hamper a person's ability to obtain new credit for a time.
How Does Credit Fraud Happen?
Credit fraud occurs when thieves use personal information belonging to one or more consumers to open loans or credit card accounts, to buy goods or services, or to secure cash advances—and then disappear without ever paying a dime. It can also happen when fraudsters exploit existing accounts by gaining access to credit card information and using it to make purchases without the victim's knowledge or consent.
Consumers, businesses and credit users in general suffer as consumer information is compromised for criminal gain. Additionally, lenders may charge higher fees and interest rates to cover the costs of fraud-prevention and fraud management programs.