What To Do If Your Credit Card Has Been Fraudulently UsedJune 3, 2010 - 2:04 am
Credit cards have become a staple of modern-day life. The average American carries 3.5 cards on their person, and uses them for everything from paying bills to shopping online, dining out, and filling up their cars with gas. Indeed, credit cards are virtually indispensable and very easy to use. Both of these, unfortunately, make them prime targets for fraudulent use.
In the United States, fraudulent credit activity is a multi-billion dollar a year crime that is used against people of all walks of life. Learning how to counter credit card theft and fraud is something every credit card user should know.
How do you know if your credit card has been used fraudulently? Anyone who owns a credit card should check the account regularly to see if any strange charges pop up. If you did not make a charge, then chances are someone else did. These days, you can even be in physical possession of your card and still have someone commit fraud. Checking your account balance on a daily basis is the best way to notify yourself in the event of fraudulent use.
Once you have identified a potential case of credit card fraud, you should first verify that you have your credit card on your person. Then, look at the charge on your statement or your billing summary and see if the charge makes sense. If it does not, the next step is to immediately call your bank’s credit card department. Most major banks or credit institutions have centers established purely for customer protection, so you should be able to get in touch with someone right away.
Explain the mysterious purchases to the representative and answer any questions he or she asks. Also, verify whether or not anyone else has routine access to your card, and make sure to mention if you use your card for online shopping or any other online activity. You should keep track of sites that you use and make sure they are reputable companies.
Your card issuer will likely put a freeze on your account. This allows them to identify any attempted fraudulent use and – more importantly – protect you from any further charges. They will also investigate, and if fraud is confirmed or highly suspected, then they will work to remove the charges from your account. You will more than likely have a new card issued to you to go with a new account.
Once you have spoken to the bank, notify any creditors who use your credit card for payments that a new account is being created. Then, transfer your information accordingly. If you act quickly, you can mitigate the damage immediately and protect your assets.