During my life I have been a victim of identify theft, bank account draining, credit card fraud and credit collection schemes.
1. If you are ever a victim of an unauthorized charge contact your credit card issuer by phone, web or letter. Dispute the charge and demand a new credit card with a new account number. Don't worry about contacting the police since the merchant that accepted the credit card for purchase is the crime victim along with the bank. You are not a crime victim since this is an unauthorized charge. The credit card account is owned by the bank which authorizes you to use it.
2. Someone has opened a credit account using your personal information without your authorization. Now you are a victim of a crime by identity theft. You need to immediately put a credit freeze on all four credit bureaus; trans union, experian, equifax and chex systems. They usually charge $10 fee. Do not wait to get a police report or any type of verification. The sooner you get the credit freeze on your credit reports the better off you will be. Now you need to gather the information and go to the police station to report the crime. You can also contact the FBI if you want. Obtain a copy of the police report. Now you need to compose a letter to the credit issuer informing them of the unauthorized use of your identity including a copy of the police report then send it via certified us mail overnight. Then you can contact the credit issuer by telephone and inform them they have opened an unauthorized credit account. Do not give out your date of birth or SSN to the credit issuer. You also need to use the chexsystems credit report to see if any bank accounts have been opened in your name. Bank accounts are especially dangerous since the thief can now start writing bad checks in your name and merchants will report them to the police if they are for a large sum then CRIMINAL warrants may be issued in your name. If this happens to you you need to hire a criminal attorney and do not talk to the police for any reason. You may find out only when you arrested with a warrant or are pulled over in a traffic stop. That is why you must watch chexsystems for any accounts or credit inquires from banks.
You are now a victim of identity theft and will be affected the rest of your life with it. My identity was stolen 23 years ago and the problems never ended.
3. Credit collections. If you are contacted out of the blue about an unknown credit account from a so-called credit collection agency. Immediately assume it is a scam. Never give them a any information. Tell them to verify the debt by US mail. You should also order your four credit bureau reports to see if any unauthorized accounts have been opened. If so follow the steps I outlined in step 2.
You can also sue the original creditor issuer if they won't remove the debt from your credit report after they have failed to verify the debt. Debt verification requires the original creditor to produce documentation that you agreed to the debt.http://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/rules/rulemaking-regulatory-reform-proceedings/fair-debt-collection-practices-act-text
4. The fourth problem you may run into is the use of your social security number by people to find employment. You will need to contact the IRS to report the crime. You can also request a new social security number to stop the abuse of your number by people trying to work illegally in the country or criminals attempting to skip tracing and arrest.
Don't be afraid to consult a lawyer. You need to document everything in writing and send it by certified mail to the credit issuer with a police report for identity theft. A phone call will not document the problem and the call taker can just blow it off and not do anything since it requires more work. When I first became a victim I made numerous phone calls that the call takers just ignored.
Don't be afraid to sue credit issuers in small claims court for the $1000 penalty of falsify reporting credit information to the credit bureaus. That will immediately involve the lawyers of the credit issuing corporation and they will quickly remedy the situation and settle the lawsuit.
Good Luck and be diligent in sending certified letters to any credit issuer that opens an account in your name without your authorization.