Don’t recognize that $60 charge on your credit or debit card? I get it, being a student myself and hearing the horror stories from other students – I wanted to write a post about it and what steps to take and how to avoid getting a suspicious charge on your credit or debit card.
First thing to do is to call your card issuer or bank to report the fraudulent charges. You can read my recent post on what to do if you lost your wallet or purse. The steps you take to fix this suspicious charge depend whether the charge was on debit or credit card.
What I go over,
- Suspicious Charge Made on Debit Card
- Suspicious Charge Made on Credit Card
- Tips on Avoiding Fraud
Suspicious Charge Made on Debit Card
If the suspicious charge happened within the last two days, your loss liability is limited to $50 if you notify your bank within two days.
After two days, liability jumps to $500 until 60 days after your account statement is mailed, and after, it is not capped at all which means you have no liability. So, jumping to fixing this within two days early could save you a lot of money.
Another thing to know is that banks treat this as debit card theft and can take some time for the bank to investigate, resulting you not being able to use the card.
Next step is to figure out what exactly has been compromised, if only a debit card number – have the bank cancel the card, and change the pin.
If thief was able to get your bank account number, you will have to close the account and open a new one with a new bank account number.
1 When bank investigation is completed, you need to make sure and check that it has been completely removed or you have been reimbursed.
2 Another important task is to inform every company that you use this card to pay for services and update them with the new card information.
This could be a very tedious process depending on how many companies you will need to notify, but is better than other alternatives that you could have faced.
Suspicious Charge Made on Credit Card
Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, losses on your credit card are capped at $50. In other circumstance if your credit card number was stolen, and not the actual card, you are not liable at all for any unauthorized use. Any suspicious or fraudulent charges will be credited back to you after they are reported.
After you called and explained your situation, the credit card company will cancel the card and replace it and will inform you that you are not liable for those charges.
Then, the letter will be sent to you to fill out – to acknowledge that you believe the charge was fraudulent. You just need to make sure that you report within 60 days in order to be absolved from consumer liability for the unauthorized charges.
Tips on Avoiding Fraud
1. Go over your statements I know your life might be busy and honestly I haven’t been paying attention much myself to my statements that banks send you at the end of the month, but you should especially as a student.
This is so important because this is pretty much the only way to see suspicious charges. At least do it and review them every other month just for the sake of it, it doesn’t take long, just look over the charges and I guarantee you that you will spot something suspicious instantly when you see a purchase that you do not recognize.
2. Create Strong Passwords I used to create the same password for almost everything and recently changed all of my passwords and made it much more complicated with symbols and letters. It only takes once to be hit with fraud but it could last for a long time on your credit as I talked here. It also applies to changing passwords frequently.
3. Don’t use public internet connections Don’t go to popular Starbucks or any other place and use the wi-fi to purchase or figure out some financial matter.
The thing about public wi-fi is that it is vulnerable for the most part and if you are in another country it could cost you, your business, or customers if you use it to log into your server or anywhere where the information belongs to you.
4. Don’t share your financial information with unknown sources This is pretty simple right? Well, even I consider myself very tech savvy, the spam has really stepped their game in terms of being able to make the emails seem very real.
The best part to see if the email is fake is to look at the sender’s email, usually it will have numbers and some weird symbols. If not, usually the official emails have something like email@example.com and not firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you suspect any suspicious charge, you need to make sure you act fast for less damage. You can refer to my post here and find phone numbers to majority of financial banks that will help you solve the charges you don’t recognize.
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