Whether it is the holiday season or just an ordinary time of the year, identity thieves will not take a break. Thus, it is important that you guarantee the safety of your credit card against fraudulent charges. It is now so easy for thieves to get hold of your credit card information and make purchases with it online. If you are already in credit card debt and you find that there is a transaction that you didn’t make, act immediately. Below are some tips on what to do when there is an unauthorized transaction in your account.
Step 1: Check all your previous expenses.
Before you report the suspicious activity on your account to your bank, be certain that the transaction is not really yours. There are times when the store or the company where you bought the item may not show up. It may bear the name of the headquarters or the home office of the company instead. If you keep your receipts, try matching them with the amount first. If there is an authorized user or another user of a joint credit card, make sure that he or she did not use the account for that transaction. Once you guarantee that you didn’t authorize the purchase, proceed to step two.
Step 2: Contact your bank or issuer as soon as possible.
The good news about having a credit card is that there are tools and services integrated with it to help protect you against fraud. Most companies will call you in case there is a suspicious activity in your account. If not, you should regularly check your account. Most issuers now allow individuals to check their accounts online. The faster you call the bank, the less apprehensive they will be with your report.
Step 3: Have a chat with the fraud or identity theft division of your issuer.
This is where you will make the official statement. Make sure that you have all the details, such as the purchases, amounts, and the dates. Some banks will try to clear out the charges at this moment while some have to contact the merchant first, asking them to halt the payment process. Aside from the fraud division, you may also be asked to file a police report, especially if the transaction concerns huge amounts.
Step 4: Fill all forms and sign them.
You will receive forms that you will need to fill out. Sign them and send them back to your issuer quickly. It will help if you will make a copy of the forms so that you will have your own record. You should also verify that you have received the forms and make sure to inform the issuer that you are sending them or have sent them back. Companies have deadlines for claims.
Step 5: Get your credits back.
Some banks will require that you wait at least 30 days to get your credits back. Some will give you temporary credit, where they will put your money back for the time being while they review your case. This will only become permanent credit if you have completed your affidavit and signed it.
You can also protect account by filing a fraud alert with Equifax, Experian, and Transunion, the three major credit groups. Doing so will require any transaction to provide identity proof before the purchase can be completed.