How To Stop Unauthorized Credit Card Charges | CreditShout

How To Stop Unauthorized Credit Card Charges

How To Stop Unauthorized Credit Card Charges


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Let’s face it, finding unauthorized credit card charges on your account can strike fear to the heart immediately. They can be tough to deal with and nothing gets under the skin quicker than getting charged for something you didn’t buy.

While unauthorized charges can be a pain and scary, you won’t be responsible for paying them if you report them as soon as they happen. This is why it’s essential to pay close attention to every transaction you make on your credit cards.

Even better, you can likely monitor all of your transactions online. Most credit card issuers have an online portal for card holders. 

This is going to be much better than just monitoring your credit card statements.

How To Stop Unauthorized Credit Card Charges

The quicker you can find unauthorized credit card charges, the better. This is why we always recommend having an online account to monitor transactions.

While you can call your credit card issuers too, that can become a pain in itself, so having an online account is the way to go. 

While you can still monitor monthly statements, weeks can pass before you realize an unauthorized transaction has been made. If you sign up for alerts, you can find out immediately.

Unauthorized credit card charges any type of charge on your credit card that you didn’t give permission to. 

In most cases, unauthorized charges come from credit card theft, often from a stolen credit card or a compromised credit card. Mistakes can be made, either by human error or computers, so those can happen from time to time.

Now, if you have an authorized user or joint user, you want to make sure they didn’t make the charges first.

60 Days To File A Report

Personally, I monitor my credit daily. I’m not doing it manually but I get alerts from all of my accounts. 

When I make a purchase with my credit card, I get a text or email, sometimes both. By doing so, I would know immediately if someone is trying to use my cards without permission.

Unfortunately, most people don’t monitor their credit transactions. The Fair Credit Billing Act states that you have 60 days to report unauthorized credit card transactions on your account. 

After 60 days have passed, the credit card companies are not responsible for fixing it. Due to this, you should at least monitor your accounts once a month.

It doesn’t matter what the amount is, if you find an unauthorized credit card charge on your account, make sure you report it. It could be $100, $20 or $0.20.  

Thieves can make a 20 cent charge and some people wouldn’t pay any mind to a charge that little. What happens later?

They spend the card’s full balance elsewhere, so never take any chances.

How To Report Unauthorized Credit Card Charges

How To Stop Unauthorized Credit Card Charges

As soon as you spot an unauthorized credit card charge on your account, you immediately call the credit card company. Don’t wait a month, don’t wait a day, make the phone call right away.

I remember a $400 charge was applied to one of my accounts. I live on the east coast, this charge was for gas in Idaho. Even if I took a plane, it would take a few hours to get there. 

Thanks to my immediate alerts, I was able to call them right away and they knew where I was at the time, “home.” They immediately began the process to remove it.

Here’s a great tip for you: NEVER give out your personal information. If you’re writing it down (I know some of you are), make sure it’s in a very safe place.

Be careful on the phone too, NEVER give your information out over the phone unless you’re 110 percent sure it is someone that can be trusted.

These are going to help you avoid a lot of problems and drama down the road.

Back to reporting unauthorized credit card charges, you’re going to need to immediately call your credit card issuer. Let them know someone has used your credit card without permission and you want to file a dispute.

If you have access to an online portal, some credit card issuers have links you can follow to file an unauthorized credit card charge dispute. If you don’t have access, just call them.

Knowing Your Rights

As it states in the law, you can be liable for up to $50 of unauthorized charges made before you reported a missing credit card. The good news, most credit card issuers have zero fraud liability policies that remove your liability for fraudulent charges.

Also, the Fair Credit Billing Act says that you’ll never be liable for unauthorized charges made while your card was in your possession.

In easier to understand words, if the unauthorized charges were made with your credit card account information rather than your credit card, you won’t be held liable as long as you still have physical possession of your credit card. (If you’ve lost your credit card, make sure you cancel it immediately, get a new card.)

Now, once you dispute an unauthorized charge, the credit card issuer will typically remove it from your account. In the time being, you’re not responsible for paying the disputed 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 authorized the questionable charge on your credit card account.

In Closing

Remember, monitor your credit card transactions daily. I can’t stress this enough. 

In the manner that technology has improved over the last decade, everyone should be monitoring their credit daily. You don’t have to check in every day, but you do need to get your notifications set up right. 

If something “weird” goes on, you’ll receive an alert. Don’t be left in the dark, monitor all of your accounts!

If something “weird” goes on, you’ll receive an alert. Don’t be left in the dark, monitor all of your accounts!

Get signed up to an online account, set up alerts when the cards are used and you’re going to be protected. You only have 60 days to file a dispute. 

Make sure another user didn’t make the charges. As soon as you notice an unauthorized charge, report it right away.

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone. Additionally, the opinions of the commenters are not necessarily the opinions of this site

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