Having your credit card stolen, or even just losing it, can cause anxiety, fear, and frustration. Will you have to pay for any fraudulent charges if someone uses your stolen credit card? How do you report fraud on a credit card?
Navigating this situation can be difficult, but we’re here to help. Here’s what you should know and how Mazow | McCullough, PC can assist you.
Contact Your Card Issuer Immediately
Report the theft of your credit card to the issuer right away. It’s critical that you don’t wait, even if you think you only lost the card. Normally, you would look for the phone number printed on the back of the card.
If your card is missing, you can likely find it on your paper credit card statement or online. If your card issuer is a bank, you may be able to contact them online or at a banking location.
Cancel Your Stolen Credit Card
Once you reach your credit card issuer, request that the card be canceled. You should be able to get a new card with a new number and the old card should no longer be usable.
Change Your Online Account Login
You should also change your online account login if you use an app or website to view your credit card statements or pay your bills. Be sure to update your password, PIN, and even consider changing your username prevent future fraud. You should also change the username and password of any other online accounts that you shared the same information with or that had stored financial information, like Amazon, Grubhub, Instacart, etc.
Monitor Your Credit Card Statements
After reporting the theft of your credit card to your card issuer, check your account frequently to make sure that there are no new fraudulent charges and that you are credited back any unauthorized transactions. Per the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA), your maximum liability for fraudulent charges is $50.
Check all important transaction details, including the amount of the transaction, the place of business or merchant, and the date. Report any additional cases of suspicious charges to your card issuer right away. If you report your card stolen before any unauthorized charges go through, you may not be liable at all.
How to Report Fraud on a Credit Card
If your credit card data or the card itself was stolen and used, it’s critical that you act as quickly as possible.
Notifying the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) handles claims of identity theft, scams, fraud, and bad business practices. You can make a report online at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Unfortunately, the FTC cannot mitigate or resolve credit card theft or other individual reports of fraud. This is more of a formality and to begin creating a paper trail that will help you protect your rights.
Notifying Credit Bureaus and Disputing Charges
You should also check your credit score and reports from all three credit bureaus. If nonpayment of fraudulent credit card charges shows up on your credit report, you’ll need to dispute them.
Credit bureaus are legally required to investigate disputes for free, and they have the responsibility to correct mistakes or other inaccurate information, including fraudulent charges. You can dispute items on your credit report with each bureau online, via telephone, or by sending a written letter with documentation that your credit card was stolen and the charges reported to the bureau do not belong to you.
Contact an Experienced Consumer Protection Attorney
Dealing with credit card theft and its aftermath can be exhausting. Your card issuer may not want to reimburse you for the full amount of the fraudulent charges, despite the protections afforded to consumers under the Fair Credit Billing Act. They may ask you for more documentation than is necessary, or they may delay crediting back the fraudulent charges as long as possible.
This is often the case when the charges are substantial; credit card companies don’t want to absorb the cost of thousands of dollars of merchandise or services bought with a stolen credit card. Credit bureaus may also be hesitant to remove reports of unpaid credit card bills, even if you can prove that you were not the one who incurred those charges.
That said, credit card companies and bureaus tend to be more responsive when you have a consumer protection attorney on board. Generally, when you’re working with a consumer protection lawyer, you’ll get less run-around and your case will be taken more seriously. In many cases, your attorney will handle communication with your card company and the credit bureaus so you don’t have to deal with any of the red tape at all.
How Mazow | McCullough, PC Can Help
At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we know how unsettling it can be to discover that someone has not only taken your credit card but charged hundreds or even thousands of dollars to it in stolen merchandise and services. Thinking about how you may be responsible for the bill can be gut-wrenching.
Fortunately, you have rights under federal law and our team of skilled Massachusetts and New Hampshire attorneys know how to protect and advocate for them. We’ll review your case and create a strategy to get your money back and clear your records of damaging inaccuracies.
Contact us today to discuss your case in detail or to learn more about how to protect yourself from credit card theft by calling our office at (978) 944-8000 or toll free at (855) 693-9084. Our Salem, MA law firm is available now to assist you.