First time facing credit card fraud? You got that

When Amanda Abella was 23, her wallet was stolen from her purse while she was at work. Before realizing he was missing, she started receiving text messages from her bank regarding unusual activity on her account. It was the first time she had experienced fraud on her debit and credit cards.

Resolving fraudulent transactions on his debit card proved difficult and time consuming. But reverse unauthorized credit card charges? It was easy.

“It was literally just picking up the phone and calling. “Hey, my wallet was stolen. I file a police report. Close the account. Send me a new card. And that was it, ”says Abella, of Miami. “They reimbursed me for all the strange transactions.” Now 29 years old, Abella is the author of the book “Make Money Your Honey”.

If you are facing imprecise charges on your credit card, chances are the process will be fairly straightforward for you too. Here is what to do.

Take stock of your coverage

First, take a deep breath and remember: As long as you report unauthorized credit card charges to the issuer, you usually won’t have to pay them. This is thanks to protections under federal law and the “zero liability” policies of the credit card networks.

“For unauthorized use, your liability is limited to $ 50” under the credit card law, says Chi Chi Wu, an attorney with the National Consumer Law Center. “So if your thief uses your card to rack up a bunch of fees, you can only be held responsible for $ 50. And if it’s used for an internet purchase, they can’t even charge you the $ 50, if the card isn’t present. Many issuers are also waiving that $ 50 because of zero liability policies, she said.

Many debit cards offer zero liability protection, but the cardholder’s liability under federal law can be bigger on these accounts.

Zero liability policies can be canceled due to the negligence of the cardholder, but federal law still provides protection.

“Let’s say you put your credit card aside and someone takes it,” Wu said. “It could be considered negligence. But you’re still covered by credit card law.”

File a dispute

It is essential to quickly dispute fraudulent charges. Call issuer customer service or file a dispute online.

“Most of the time this will be relatively easy to fix,” says Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy at the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group. “Ideally, you will report it to your transmitter, they will investigate [and] you will not be expected to pay for the disputed transaction while they are investigating.

Your liability for fraudulent charges is limited by law, even if you take a long time to report them. But wait too long and you risk losing your eligibility for zero liability protection. In the meantime, the fish charges could continue to pile up.

Ask for confirmation that you have filed a dispute. The resolution may take multiple calls.

Configure the new map

If your credit card is affected by fraud, issuers usually cancel that card and send you a new one with a new number linked to the same account. This will generally not affect the age of the account or affect your credit scores. However, when you get a new card, you still need to activate it and update the card information for recurring payments, which can be a hassle.

There’s no foolproof way to protect your new card from fraudulent charges, but a few things might help: Keep an eye on your wallet. Set up text or other alerts to help you track card activity. Designate a separate card for recurring payments. If your password is “password”, for cybersecurity sake, change it. And watch your accounts. It’s not always possible to prevent credit card fraud, but reporting it early helps you bounce back quickly.

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