We are led to believe that our finances are private. But with the blooming of advanced hacking techniques who exploit and take advantage of naivety, it is now possible for heightened levels of security to be peeled away like skin from an orange; revealing the juice within.
Hackers and scammers take a comprehensive approach when they play their fraudulent game. Like a network of organised criminals, they are skilled in what they do. But by shining a light on their dirty work; we make it a lot harder for them to carry out their operations.
They focus on major retailers such as P.F Chang’s, Target and Home Depot. By doing this, they can take thousands of numbers in one go. And on the black market, a credit card number isn’t cheap; they can be sold for up to $120.
Credit card issuers and merchants will mostly incur losses themselves, but that doesn’t count for the sheer velocity of fear and anxiety individuals have to endure because of these charges. Thankfully, there are ways to avoid getting into a mess like this in the first place.
Here are the steps you should take to dispute credit card charges.
In order to collect honey from a bee-hive without getting stung, you need to wear a suit. Exactly the same can be said if you want to dispute credit card charges. In order to prevent fraud before it strikes, it is imperative to take these simple precautions, so that you are confident and worriless as you take honey from the hive.
Here are some important factors that you should consider:
Only if it is a call that you initiated, with a person who you know and trust, should you share any account information. Any other calls, for example calls from an unknown number or any dodgy telesales company, you should never share information.
- Privacy: Never leave your private account information where someone might see it; even if you think it will be safe. Each day, there are countless cases from people reporting that their account details were forged by people they deemed “close”.
- Keep a record: In the case of theft, it is crucial that you have a record of account and telephone numbers from each card issuer, for a frame of reference.
- Keep a close eye on your card: As long as your card is in use, and is out from a veil of safety, you should not let it out of your sight and should even cup it with your hands as much as possible.
- Termination: Old cards that you no longer use should all be totally destroyed and disposed of.
- Know what you’re signing for: Any forms or receipts that you are asked to sign should be checked attentively for legitimacy. For example, never sign a blank receipt.
- Always check your statements: If you bank online, you should check your statements every few days or at least once a week. This way you can notice any fraudulent patterns or any inconsistencies.
- PIN Number: Under no circumstances whatsoever, should you ever make your PIN Number publicly available. That is for your own use and yours only. Keep it safely hidden!
Reporting fraudulent debit and credit card charges
If the necessary steps haven’t been taken to prevent fraudulent behaviour and you have been compromised; or indeed, in the unfortunate case that you have still been compromised albeit having taken all the precautions, then you must act fast and report the crime the second that it happens.
In this case, the same principles apply for both credit cards and debit cards. Both scenarios should be acted on in exactly the same way. However, debit cards actually offer fewer protections in comparison to credit cards. For example, if you report fraudulent behaviour within two business days after you learn about the loss or theft you will be charged $50. And if you report the loss or theft more than 60 calendar days after your statement is sent to you, the liability is unlimited.
You should dispute credit card charges in exactly the same manner as you dispute debit card charges. However, the stakes aren’t quite as high when someone uses your credit card without your consent. Liability for unauthorized use of your credit card tops out at $50.
[Read: 4 Ways to Clean Up Credit Card Issues]
As previously suggested, though, the same manner of urgency should be applied to both debit cards and credit cards.
Here’s what you should do:
- Contact your ATM or card issuer the second you notice any charges or withdrawals you didn’t make.
- Send a certified mail letter to your bank and card issuer.
- Take notes of your actions, including dates and contact information for any bank representative you have spoken to.
- Follow up with your bank until the issue is resolved.