Answers about Credit Card Solicitations

The bank sent me a credit card that I didn't request. Isn't this against the law?

Generally, credit cards may be issued only in these three instances:

  • in response to an oral or written request,
  • in response to an application, or
  • as a renewal of or substitution for a credit card that has already been accepted by the customer.

Receiving an unsolicited card could mean that a third party has applied for the card after stealing your identity. To see if this is the case, start by contacting the bank to inquire about the new card and why you received it.  If you suspect identity theft, you should order a copy of your credit report. You can order one free credit report every 12 months through or by calling 1-877-322-8228. 

If you believe you are a victim of identity theft:

  • Place a fraud alert on your credit reports by calling one of the credit reporting agencies (you need only call one; the alert will be shared among all three).
    • TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
    • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
    • Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)
  • Close the accounts that you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338) or online at
  • File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place.

March 2010