What To Do About Unauthorized Credit Card Charges
Unauthorized credit card charges can be frightening and annoying, but if you locate and report them right away, you won’t be responsible for them. You must carefully scrutinize each transaction, regardless of its size or frequency, that appears on your credit card statement in order to detect illegal charges. Instead of waiting for your monthly billing statement, keep an eye on your online transactions throughout the month to identify unauthorized charges faster.
Detect Unauthorized Credit Card Charges Early
Any form of charge to your account that you didn’t authorize falls under the category of unauthorized credit card charges. Unauthorized charges frequently come from credit card theft, either from a stolen credit card or a card number that has been compromised. Sometimes clerical or technological errors lead to unlawful charges. In either case, it is your duty to discover and report these charges as soon as you can in order to reduce your obligation for charges you didn’t make.
Because consumers don’t carefully monitor their credit card accounts, many illegal credit card charges go undetected for several months. However, the key to rectifying fraudulent charges is early detection. If too much time occurs between the time the charge is made and the time you report it, you can be held responsible for the charges. According to the Fair Credit Billing Act, you have 60 days from the date the statement containing the error was received to notify your card issuer of any unauthorized transactions and other credit card billing problems.
You have until April 29 to contest an unauthorized charge, for instance, if it was made on February 15 and your statement was submitted on March 1. The charge card issuer isn’t legally required to handle your dispute favorably if you report after 60 days.
Reporting Unauthorized Credit Card Charges
Call the number on the back of your credit card if you see an illegal charge on your account. Use a recent billing statement or the card issuer’s website to get the correct number if you don’t have your credit card and haven’t saved a copy of the phone number.
No matter how real it sounds, never provide information to anyone who phones or emails you and claims to be your credit card issuer. This is frequently a phishing scheme used by criminals to obtain your personal or credit card information. The three-digit security number on the back of your credit card and your billing zip code are frequently obtained through this fraud. To begin with, make contact with your credit card issuer using a trusted phone number from your credit card, billing statement, or the credit card issuer’s real website.
Call your credit card issuer as soon as you obtain the correct number to report the fraudulent charges. The compromised account will normally be closed, and a new credit card with a new account number will be issued.
You want to follow up with a dispute letter that details the unlawful credit card charges in order to further guarantee that your rights are safeguarded. 1 Mention your phone call and the name of the agent you spoke with during customer service.
Some credit card companies demand that you attempt to negotiate a resolution to the illegal charge with the merchant first.
Usually, you can find the merchant by looking at your credit card statement. To make it appear as though charges were made with a certain merchant when they weren’t, thieves occasionally falsify merchant information (this has been an ongoing issue with some unauthorized iTunes charges). You will have to work with your credit card company rather than the merchant to remedy this situation.
Protect Your Rights
Although many credit card providers offer zero fraud liability rules that absolve you of responsibility for fraudulent payments, you may be legally responsible for up to $50 in unauthorized charges made before you reported a missing credit card. Additionally, you will never be held accountable for any unlawful transactions made while your card was in your possession, according to the Fair Credit Billing Act. In other words, as long as you still physically hold your credit card, you won’t be held responsible if the unlawful purchases were made using your credit card account information rather than your actual credit card.
The credit card company normally cancels an unauthorized charge once you challenge it and remove it from your account. In the meanwhile, you’re exempt from paying the disputed amount portion of your balance. The card issuer can’t charge any fees or interest on that unpaid balance unless it’s later determined that you indeed authorized the charge.
What Is the Fair Credit Billing Act?