How To Dispute A Credit Card Charge?

If there's a charge you don't recognize on your card statement, you can't afford to assume the best. Hackers and identity thieves are everywhere, and they're growing more sophisticated by the moment. Even if you think you're totally protected, there's always a chance that someone accessed your information and is using it to drain your checking account or worse. Hackers aren't harmless, and putting your life back together after a fraudulent charge can be a difficult thing. That's why you have to act fast. If you're dealing with an unauthorized or fraudulent charge on your card, here's what you need to do. The information provided here is for general information only and should not be used as legal advice.

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How To Dispute A Credit Card Charge

  1. Shut Everything Down. Sometimes when a charge seems suspect, your bank will contact you or shut down your card for you. However, most of the time it's up to you to identify a wrong charge. That means that time is of the essence when it comes to protecting your money. If you see a charge that wasn't authorized by you by a vendor you don't recognize, you can't waste time. If you're able to shut down your card on your banking app, do so immediately. If this isn't an option, you need to call your bank at once and shut down the card. Once everything is cleared up with the help of your lawyer, you'll be able to reopen your account. However, before you do anything else, you have to cut thieves off from your card before they do even more damage.
  2. Contact Your Card Company. After you've put your accounts on freeze, it's time to talk to your bank or card company to resolve the issue. If you're dealing with a credit card, you'll have an easier time setting things back in order. However, if your card is linked up to your account or acts as a debit card, you'll have a more difficult road ahead. That's why it's so important to stop data thieves in their tracks before they totally drain your savings and take over your life.
  3. Lawyer Up. After you've made contact with your card company and explained the situation, you'll need to call your lawyer. Having the right lawyer can help smooth the process of negotiation between you and your bank. Even if it's clear that your account has been hacked or used for fraudulent purposes, your bank will still have to start an investigation. During this process, which could take quite awhile, you'll want to have your lawyer by yourself to make sure you're completely protected.
  4. Don't Assume It Ends There. After you've resolved everything with your bank or card company, you'll need to take action in other areas of your life. Don't assume that hackers only have one source of information. Change all important passwords, especially those related to banking apps, and search social media to make sure no one has opened an account in your name. Finally, make sure your credit score isn't affected by the breach and take action to make sure all your information is accurate.

How Long Before I Can Access My Account Again?

If you've been a victim of a fraudulent charge, it may take some time for your bank to allow you access to your account again. You'll still be able to access your funds, but in most cases there will be an investigation underway to get to the bottom of the breach. Again, if you're only using credit, this will be a much simpler process, since all your bank will have to do is cancel the charge. However, if information that leads directly to your bank account is hacked, you may be in for a longer wait. In any case, make sure you have the best lawyer working to make sure justice is done and that your savings are protected.

Identity Theft Statistics By State, 2017

State Number Of Complaints Rank
Alabama 3,609 33
Alaska 494 40
Arizona 8,330 11
Arkansas 2,084 37
California 55,418 4
Colorado 6,051 14
Connecticut 4,078 13
Delaware 1,211 1
D.C. 1,333 7
Florida 31,167 3
Georgia 12,548 10
Hawaii 890 43
Idaho 1,356 28
Illinois 15,841 8
Indiana 5,027 32
Iowa 1,870 49
Kansas 2,100 35
Kentucky 3,060 37
Louisiana 3,340 36
Maine 806 48
Maryland 7,788 5
Massachusetts 6,016 24
Michigan 15,027 2
Minnesota 4,324 31
Mississippi 2,064 37
Missouri 4,994 26
Montana 638 48
Nebraska 1,170 45
Nevada 3,828 6
New Hampshire 1,097 26
New Jersey 9,533 15
New Mexico 1,909 20
New York 20,397 16
North Carolina 9,424 19
North Dakota 467 43
Ohio 9,121 30
Oklahoma 2,901 33
Oregon 3,714 21
Pennsylvania 12,468 18
Rhode Island 1,302 9
South Carolina 4,509 21
South Dakota 403 50
Tennessee 5,586 25
Texas 33,454 12
Utah 2,452 28
Vermont 354 47
Virginia 7,656 22
Washington 7,360 17
West Virginia 1,000 43
Wisconsin 3,731 42
Wyoming 389 40

What If I'm Part Of A Corporate Data Breach?

If you've received an email from a large retailer telling you that your info may have been accessed as part of a breach, you should change all your passwords and contact your bank as soon as you can. Although it's possible that your information has not been compromised, you can't afford to take chances when it comes to your personal information. Even if hackers don't have access to a social security number or driver's license, they can still use your information to open accounts in your name and mess with your credit score online.

Common Types Of Identity Fraud, 2017

Fraud Type Percentage
Miscellaneous Identity Theft 51.9%
Credit Card Fraud 16.8%
New Account Opening 12.7%
Employment 10.1%
Tax Fraud 7.5%
Bank Fraud 6.4%
Loan or Lease Fraud 3.2%
Government Benefits 4.2%
Utilities Fraud 7.4%

In Depth

In the past, it was simple to keep your identity protected from thieves and con artists. Today, however, it's shockingly common to wake up and find that your social and banking accounts have been hacked into by a stranger trying to pass themselves off as you. When it comes to phony credit card charges, it's even easier for thieves to steal your information and start racking up debt on your card. Sometimes, it can even happen within your own family.

When a father gave his 21-year old son access to a credit card by co-signing, he thought there was no harm in it. His son would be able to establish a credit score without dealing with the pitfalls of traditional credit card ownership. But when the man's son was influenced by his girlfriend to buy an all-inclusive Caribbean vacation, the father called the card company right away to dispute it. While he was totally in the right, he had to fight a hard battle to get the charges canceled.

If you think this can't happen to you, think again. Whether you're a celebrity like Jennifer Lawrence or a giant corporation like Target, you're always one careless mistake away from losing your identity through phoney card charges and hacked passcodes. So how do you keep yourself protected?

So how do you keep yourself protected?

First off, you need to check out our quick guide on disputing a false charge and winning, found on this web page. Scroll beneath this video to connect to a lawyer who will make sure your identity is protected from now on. If you need to dispute a charge and protect your credit, here's what you should do.

#1: Shut Down Your Card. Thankfully, tons of banks are on the lookout for fraudulent activity on their cards, which means that your banking app will potentially contact you if a purchase is out of state or seems fishy. However, if you've spotted the problem yourself, the first thing you need to do is shut down your card and contact the merchant in question. Some apps allow you to freeze your card automatically, while others will make you call the card company first.

Whatever your situation, you need to make sure that whoever has stolen your info is cut off immediately. Don't make the same mistake that Simon Bunce, a UK worker, made after his card was being used to buy and download child pornography. Bunce knew he was innocent of the accusations, but he had no idea how his card information had been downloaded and used for illegal purposes by someone in Indonesia.

Don't make the same mistake that Simon Bunce, a UK worker, made after his card was being used to buy and download child pornography.

Rather than trying to connect the issue to a data breach from a huge online retailer, Bunce waited too long and was arrested by the UK police. He lost his job, his friends, and his reputation and had to fight to gain his life back. Don't ever let this happen to you. If you've had your identity stolen, you can't afford not to fight back.

Be sure to refer to our guide on fighting against identity theft and protecting your identity securely. You can find it by scrolling beneath this video to get started with a lawyer who will keep your name and reputation protected.

#2: Contact The Credit Card Company. Once you've shut down your card and had a talk with the merchant, it's time to call your credit card company. You know that the purchase was fraudulent, and armed with this knowledge you can make your case and get refunded. The important thing is to make sure you don't allow any time to pass between shutting down your card and contacting the company.

You know that the purchase was fraudulent, and armed with this knowledge you can make your case and get refunded.

Hackers can do an incredible amount of damage in just a short period of time. When 18-year-old Gregory Welch died tragically, his family was still grieving when tax time rolled around. On top of their pain, they had to deal with the fact that a hacker had stolen Gregory's card info and his identity and was filing a tax return as their dead son. No one should ever have to deal with this. That's why it's so crucial to act right away and stop thieves in their tracks.

#3: Hire A Top Notch Lawyer. No matter how strong your case is, having a lawyer will make all the difference. Credit card companies are used to dealing with fraud, and it can take several weeks for an identity theft issue to be cleared up. That's why you need to have an experienced lawyer to help you make a strong case and get your name cleared at once. We're not lawyers, and this shouldn't be taken as legal advice, but if you care about protecting your money and your identity, getting legal help is a no-brainer.

#4: Don't Assume It Ends There. Once your fraudulent charge has been cleared up, you can't assume that the threat is neutralized. If a hacker found your information once, they might be able to do it again. Make sure you stay on top of your credit score and dispute any changes related to the fraudulent activity, and change all your passwords for vital logins or personal documents. When it comes to hackers, you can truly never be too careful.

When it comes to hackers, you can truly never be too careful.

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