Have you ever taken a look at your credit card bill and discovered a purchase that you know you didn’t make? Like you are really confident you didn’t make it? So you ask your significant other or your siblings or your kids, “Hey, did you use my credit card?” You will almost always get a resounding, “No! Of course not.” Now maybe they did use it and just don’t want to own up to it. But in the instance where they actually did not use it, you have an issue on your hands. Credit card fraud.
Credit card fraud is the act of stealing another’s credit card. Alternatively, it could occur when someone receives unauthorized access of your card information and utilizes it to their advantage. There are a few ways in which credit card fraud occurs.
The easiest way is if someone steals your physical credit card. Once they steal it from you, they will have the ability to use it for themselves. To the contrary, the hardest way to commit credit card fraud is by attempting to steal your information online or over the phone. The customer never presents the card to the culprit, but because you tried to buy something online or over the phone, they were able to get a hold of your card information and subsequently use it for their personal gain. And last but not least, one of the most common ways occurs when someone gets a hold of your credit card and uses a scanner to steal the information. This happens regularly when you are in close contact with the thief. Once you buy your items and hand over your credit card to the cashier, the cashier will swipe the card through the register and then meticulously move it past a scanner in the process of handing it back to you. You will not even notice because you cannot see the scanner and you didn’t catch anything out of the ordinary. I know, very sneaky right.
So how do you combat this? Here are several steps to take if you believe you have had your credit card information stolen:
1. Understand the Law Behind Credit Card Fraud
If you are reading this article, yet have never been the victim of credit card fraud, you should be memorizing this step. Keep this information in the back of your head,
because credit card fraud is all about timing.
The Fair Credit Billing Act (“FCBA”) permits consumers to dispute credit card charges. The consumer only has 60 days to dispute any charges on their credit card bill according to the FCBA. Act fast. If you miss this deadline, you will be liable for the payments, even if they weren’t yours to begin with.
On another note, the FCBA also requires a $50 minimum in order for a dispute to
be eligible. However, many credit card companies have adopted a zero liability policy. In other words, even if the charge is under $50, the credit card company will not hold you accountable. But this is not guaranteed for every credit card company. So break out your reading glasses and read the terms and conditions of the contract you execute with your credit card company.
2. “Help! There are fraudulent charges on my credit card!”
Now we are entering the part of the article that you came here to read. What do
you do when you first discover those fraudulent charges?
You must notify your credit card company immediately. This will be the catalyst for removing the charges from your account and if needed, closing your account down. Yes, you read that right, closing your account. This will ensure that future fraud will not occur to you. The culprits have your credit card information. Thus, they will not stop at one attempt to buy something with your card. They will continue to seek purchases utilizing your card information. Therefore, close your account down and have the credit card company issue you a new card.
3. Tracking your Steps
Next, you should determine where and how the fraud occurred. The credit card company will determine if the fraud occurred once you notify them. You will speak to a customer service member and sort that out when you first notify them of the potential fraud. However that is needless to dive into in this article; you are most likely here because you know for a fact, fraud occurred.
So despite that, determining where and how the fraud occurred is essential to the classic phrase: learning from your mistakes. As an added plus, you can also aid your
friends and family by telling them exactly where and how it happened so that they can avoid this occurrence too.
4. Credit Card Protection Offers
There are two types of credit card protection offers. One is from the credit card
company that issues you the card. This is the one you want. The other is from a third
party that offers you protection from fraudulent transactions on your credit card. This is not the one you want. This protection is expensive and unnecessary. Not only do you have federal protections through the FCBA, but you also have credit card companies that offer protections with the issuance of your card.
5. Monitor your Credit Card Reports
This is really simple and easy to do. This will allow you to monitor your account
and keep a keen eye out for any fraud on your card. You should do it at least once a
year and if you can, once every six months. Stay on top of your account and ensure that no fraud is attacking you without your knowledge.
* * * * * *
Fight the fraud. Follow these steps and you will never experience the pain of losing money to credit card fraudsters. And if you do, seek advice from your friends at JustLaw