Fraud, Embezzlement, Bad Checks Potential Credit Card Fraud just a little more complicated

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Discovered a friend used my cc. I apologize but it was a few months back. I pay the account online and never really pay all that much attention.
So first question? Is there a time limit for me to bring it to my cc companies attention?
I do suppose that might depend on the cc company but figured I woud ask anyway.
Second, I know the person and confronted her and she admitted it. Said she would repay. I would rather work with her than go the legal route BUT just in case I want to know where I stand.
She took the card and used it but I was never called by them to authoirize or I did not sign anything that allowed the company she used it with to charge the card. She either signed my name to the bill or signed her name and she is not listed as a legal user of the card.
I would much prefer she and I handle this between us because I am not really all that interested in complicating her life. If she pays it back I can live with it.
Problem is we have no written legal agreement between us. I am still not convinced she is really going to pay in full.
She came over to my home today with a money order. She verbally agreed to pay 100 this month and 200 a month till it is paid off.
She brought me a money order with her first name and last letter of her last name. She wrote at the bottom for repayment of what she paid for and for "credit card agreement" and the balance.
I was happy when she dropped by then got to thinking, if I cash this then she can say I agreed to the purchase, right? If I do that then I have no fraud case, right? Then if she just decides to never pay me again all I have for any proof of anything is a money order without her last name on it. So I am thinking cashing this money order is not such a good idea if I ever want to take to to court for fraud if she tries to stiff me. Does that make sense? Like I said I want to do all I can to have her have made a mistake and not get charged with fraud. I am willing to have her pay me back. I am just not sure if I can even go to small claims court if all I have is that money order? Do I need to get some kind of legal contract and ask her to sign it before procedding and is that really worth the paper it is on? I just figure even if I get to small claims court and win a judgement does not mean payment.
The horrible part of the whole thing is I would like to think I can trust her and work this mess out but just did not know if cashing that money order would doom any chance I would ever have if all else failed and I wanted to go after her fro credit card fraud. Almost finished, I would rather get some sound advice hopefully here before I try to talk to my cc company or the company she used the credit card at. Hope I was not too long winded but kind of a complicated mess I have gotten myself into. Thanks
The credit card company won't help you. You have identified who used your card. They will tell you to make a police report for theft by credit card.
If your friend does not pay up then your friend can face criminal charges for theft.

The money order is good for a specified period of time- hold on to it for awhile and see if she shows up with the next check as agreed. When she does come back, or whenever is convenient, have something written out for her to sign... just something simple like a list of dates and how much will be paid each date until the full balance is met. If she refuses then you will know something is up and can hang the threat of police action over her head.

If you don't want to get the police involved for criminal action then you can still go through civil court. By giving you the money order, and by adding that statement at the bottom, she has acknowledged having used your card and shot herself in the foot since she won't be able to deny anything in court.

Up to you which way you want to go, but you are in the driver's seat with this one.
So I make a copy of the money order and hold on to it.

Am I doing myself any harm by cashing the money order?

It is a USPS money order and has no expiration date according to what I read
about them.

She agreed to pay before the 15th of every month so I was going to hold onto it
till then if it harms me in anyway to cash it.

If a copy of it is all I need and cashing it does me no harm then I will go ahead and cash it.

Is it good enough proof if it does not have her last name only her last initial
on the money order? Just concerned she did not write her whole last name.

You could do yourself some harm by cashing the money order... just as you were suspecting due to that extra statement.
I did not mean for you to make a copy and hold that, I meant for you to just hold the actual money order for awhile rather than go to the bank. Make note of when it expires and just hold it for awhile to see if your friend comes with another check. If there is no expiration then it is even easier for you. Just be patient and find out her intentions. You may very well find out that as soon as you cash that money order she will stop cooperating with you.
Will do thanks.

Supposedly going to see her again for payment by the 15th of Jan.

Will wait and see if she comes through with that.

Also curious to see if she asks if I cashed it in the meantime.

Just gonna hold onto to it since there is no expiration date.

Thanks for your input.
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