I remember waking up one morning, checking my credit bill, and seeing a bunch of charges for Amazon purchases that I never made. I can hardly afford my car insurance, let alone to splurge $300 on random crap from Amazon, so waking up to that sucked. There was literally a pit in my stomach from staring at my bill—top 5 worst ways to wake up. I wouldn’t dream it on my enemies. So after 10 minutes of panicking, I did what any sane, rational adult would do. I called my mommy. I already knew the steps I need to take to fix this mess, but I needed to vent to someone first and maybe get some advice on something I didn’t already know. I am new to this whole adulting thing. It never hurts to ask for advice. So after I talked to my mom, I got work fixing this unwanted stress in my life.
What to do when someone uses your credit card
Detect Unauthorized Credit Card Charges Early
You know that feeling of not wanting to look at your bank account? That dread of knowing you are broke beyond relief where you can either fill up a quarter tank of gas or get a drink from Starbucks before work but not both kind of broke. (Just because I am broke does not mean I make financially sound decisions.) Get into the habit of checking your bank account every day, especially when you don’t want to do it.
If you have an unauthorized purchase on your credit card, it is your responsibility to report it. The credit card company won’t take the initiative to do it for you. They just want the money they are owed. According to the Fair Credit Billing Act, you have 60 days from the posted date of purchase to report an unauthorized purchase. After that, credit card companies don’t necessarily have to deal with the situation in your favor.
Tip: Look over your credit card statement at the end of each month and mark off all the purchases that you made. If something doesn’t check out, report it.
Reporting Unauthorized Credit Card Charges
Call your credit card company and tell them someone took your credit card and used it without your permission. While this may not be the hardest thing in the world to do, it can be annoying. Does anyone actually enjoy talking to customer service reps? But make sure that you are calling your credit card company and not answering emails. That’s usually a scam to get your information. Follow up your call with a letter, reference the phone call with the customer service rep so that there is written proof of your report. Once you report the charge, the credit card company will take the charge off your account and will not hold you liable for payment unless they later determine that you did authorize the charge.
Getting an unauthorized charge on your credit card is super stressful and kind of annoying to deal with, but if you take a breath, relax, and deal with the problem. It will all get fixed.
- Regularly check your statement for unauthorized purchases.
- Report unauthorized purchases immediately
- Follow up with a letter.
- Take protective measures to prevent unauthorized charges in the future.
Read more on rules to follow about credit cards here.