Everything You Should Know About Unauthorized Credit Card Charges & How to Dispute Fraudulent Charges
Identity and credit card theft are rising more and more each year. If you’re a victim of identity theft, you know how devastating this can be. The recovery process can drag out for years as well. It has moved more to online scamming that in person, because of EMV chip credit cards. Chip cards make it harder for someone to use your card, but online is a whole different issue. This article will go over how you identify any unauthorized credit card charges. We will also touch on how you dispute fraudulent charges and get a resolution to this problem.
Monitoring Your Credit
The best offense is a good defense, and this applies to your credit. The more you monitor your credit, the quicker you can catch problems. There are also programs out that you can buy like LifeLock that will help you monitor your credit. The first thing you should do is spread your free yearly credit reports out to one every four months. You can get them from annualcreditreport.com, and you get three each year. If you spread them out over the year, you’ll have a greater chance of catching unauthorized credit card charges faster.
What Kind of Charges Should You Look For?
You look at your credit reports and look for unauthorized credit card charges. These charges will look like something you know you wouldn’t buy. For example, say you see a charge for stereo equipment when you have no use or interest in it. You know you wouldn’t purchase anything like that, and this is most likely unauthorized credit card charges. You should also look for charges from foreign countries or odd buyer names. Finally, look for charges that end in things like .95, .99, or the popular $9.84.
If you Find Unauthorized Credit Card Charges, What is the Next Step?
Before you jump into trying to dispute fraudulent charges, make sure the charges are actually fraudulent. It is a good idea to check and make sure you just didn’t forget about the purchase. Some businesses have different names they use to process anything you buy. This is what could be showing up on your credit report, and why you don’t recognize it.
There are usually phone numbers listed next to the charges, call and verify the company. If you don’t find a phone number, research it on the internet. Input the business name along with the phrase “unauthorized credit card charges” and check the results. There are usually other people who have had the same thing happen to them, and they’ll have it listed. Usually, this will be a fraudulent charge, or you may have signed up for a website’s reoccurring charge without knowing it. If this is the case, call the company and make them remove the charge. Make sure they cancel it going forward as well.
Contacting Your Credit Card Lender
Once you’ve verified the unauthorized credit card charges, it’s time to move on to dispute fraudulent charges. The first thing you should do is call your credit card company. A customer service representative will help you. If they can’t, they can transfer you to their fraud department. The first thing they will do is cancel and reissue your credit card. They’ll ask you to double check for more unauthorized credit card charges.You might ask yourself am I liable for these charges? The staff will also tell you that you aren’t liable for the charges. You’ll get a form in the mail to fill out stating you didn’t make the charges. As long as you report the unauthorized credit card charges within 60 days, you’ll be okay.
You might ask yourself am I responsible for these credit charges? The staff will also tell you that you aren’t liable for the charges. You’ll get a form in the mail to fill out stating you didn’t make the charges. As long as you report the unauthorized credit card charges within 60 days, you’ll be okay.
Contact the Three Credit Bureaus to Dispute Fraudulent Charges
This next step is optional, and it will take a little more effort, but it can be worth it. Contact Experian, TansUnion, and Equifax and let them know you’re attempting to dispute fraudulent charges. You can call them or contact them online. They will put a fraud alert on your credit reports for additional monitoring. This will let lenders know they should take extra steps to verify your identity before giving you any new credit.
This alert can stay active for 90 days, and you can extend it for up to seven years. If you want the seven-year fraud alert, you’ll have to give them a copy of the police report. However, both reports are free of charge. You can also put a credit freeze into effect. This will stop anyone from opening any new credit lines. If you’re a fraud victim, you usually get this for free. If not, there is a small fee they will add on.
Additional Steps You Can Take With Unauthorized Credit Card Charges
You can be finished after you contact your credit bureaus, or you can take it one step further. You can look at the charges and retrace your steps to see exactly where the charges occurred. Once you find them, you can contact the business and report it, and you can contact the police as well. By contacting the police, it can prevent anyone else from having to dispute fraudulent charges.
How to Prevent Unauthorized Credit Card Charges From Happening Again
Once you have gone through the process of dispute fraudulent charges, you don’t want to do it again. You can take steps to stop this from happening by monitoring your credit report. If you’re a victim of identity theft, you get a free credit report, use it. You should also look into credit monitoring companies. They can send you text and email alerts if they notice strange activity. If it’s available, put a two step authorization on your credit card. You should also update your passwords and tighten your online shopping practices.
Identity fraud is a real threat, and you have to be careful when you use your card. The smarter you are about fraud, the better you can protect yourself. This article has listed the steps you should take if you find yourself the victim of credit card fraud. It has also given tips and tricks to help yourself if you have problems. If you follow this guide, you can protect your identity and your credit.
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