Credit Card FAQ

Am I Responsible for Fraudulent Credit Card Charges?

8 December 2010 by CreditCardsCo™

The amount of credit card fraud in the United States is on the rise. This covers anything from the use of stolen credit card to identity theft. If consumers are not wary, they can really be harmed by having their identity stolen. This is something that can take years to correct.

It is estimated that about 11 million people have been affected by identity theft. This is when someone steals your personal information such as social security numbers, credit card numbers, and other info which allows them to make purchases in your name. The effect on your credit history is devastating and often results in countless hours spent in court rooms and doing investigation to clean it up.

Am I Responsible For Fraudulent Activity?

Fortunately, consumers are not held responsible for fraudulent credit charges. However, there may be some stipulations imposed by your credit card company. Some creditors will charge $50 of the fraudulent amount to the consumer if their card was stolen. Federal law prohibits any charges if the card information was stolen and not the card itself. Some creditors may impose a time limit. After you receive a bill with fraudulent activity on it, you may have 60 days to report that to the credit card company in order to not be charged anything.

How Can Fraud Be Prevented?

It is of utmost importance that consumers learn to read over their credit card statements each month. Keep good records of money spent on credit cards. Keep receipts. This will help to reconcile when the statement comes every month. By comparing the charges on the statement to credit card receipts, it will be quick and easy to find charges that should not be on your account. Notifying the creditor as quickly as possible will help them to determine how the fraudulent activity occurred. Indeed, the sooner they are notified the easier it may be for them to catch the culprit.

Criminals are becoming more and more savvy. They are learning to use a certain card only a few times before abandoning it. This makes it more likely that they will get away with the crime because the consumer may never realize the fraudulent charges were made. This is a perfect example of why it is so important to pay attention to your credit card statements.

If your credit card is lost or stolen, you should call the issuer immediately and inform them. This will allow more of a chance of having the account closed down before someone else tries to use it. Nothing negative will reflect on the consumer for having a card lost or stolen. They will simply issue you a new one and you'll be able to continue using it after you receive it.

Some credit card companies have gotten really good at noticing spending patterns and also patterns of fraudulent activity. You may commonly receive phone calls from your creditor asking to verify specific charges that were made using your card. Sometimes, they will shut the card down until they can speak with you and verify it was you who made those charges. While this can feel like a hassle to the consumer at times, it is actually a great protection. If your information is being used without your consent, they're able to minimize the damage.

To avoid becoming a victim of identity theft and credit card fraud, it is important to guard your information carefully. Do not share your personal information with anyone unless you are sure you are actually speaking to a representative of the company. Many criminals have begun sending emails to customers that look like they are coming from the bank. They usually ask for personal information from the consumer in order to identify them. Do not respond to these emails. If you are uncertain, contact your bank and ask them if they need this information from you. This will help to minimize your risk of fraud.

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