Reports indicate that well over $11 billion in losses occurred through fraudulent usage of debit cards and credit cards, and the situation isn’t improving. The favorite tactic of hackers is to target large retailers and collect card numbers and other details that are then packaged and sold for profit, and these stolen card numbers do not come cheap – they cost upward of $120 per card. The scope and extent of damage is a cause for serious concern to retailers, transacting individuals and merchant bankers. The stress endured by victims of card abuse is unfathomable and the loss incurred through fraudulent outflow of personal funds is inestimable. The silver lining is that an individual card user’s liability gets limited, the earlier he detects and reports card fraud.
The following are the best solutions for effectively dealing with card frauds:
Measures for reporting fraudulent card transactions
People generally carry the impression that a debit card is a much safer instrument than a credit card, but this is actually a myth waiting to explode unpleasantly. If your report a debit card fraud, you liability trails the following pattern:
If you report the debit card fraud….
- Before the account is charged: $0
- Within two days of detecting the loss or theft: $50
- After 2 days and within 60 calendar days after you examine the bank statement : $500
- Beyond sixty days of having received your bank statement: Unlimited liability
As can be observed, the losses magnify the more you delay reporting, and the chances are maximized that you will be looking at an emptied account/ exceeded balance once fraudulent transactions have gone undetected beyond the sixty day period.
Because the liability clauses kick in pretty fast, the onus is on you to maintain a close vigil on your transactions and be there to respond immediately when a fake transaction appears.
This is what you need to do:
- Contact your card service provider, the moment you suspect an illegal transaction.
- Use certified mail to post a follow up letter to the card company giving full details of the account, the suspected transaction (with your explanatory note) and its date.
- Make a brief diary note of the dates you spoke/ wrote to the company and the names the designations of the employees you contacted, and what transpired.
- Persistently contact and follow up the matter and retain all correspondence you exchange with the company, properly filed.
Tackling fraudulent credit card charges
The steps to be followed are the same as you would for a debit card fraud, keeping copies of correspondence exchanged with the company. The silver lining is that the liability for fraudulent and unauthorized usage of a credit card maximizes at $50, and if the card remains in your custody but the number was stolen, your liability becomes zero. All the card company needs to do is to cancel the old account and issue a fresh card.
What you can do to prevent card theft and misuse
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lays down the following guidelines to prevent card misuse and help detect frauds faster:
- To the extent possible never share you card number or account details over a phone or through texting with anybody, not even the company because companies never authorize their personnel to demand such details over the phone or through mail.
- Your account details should be known only to you; never leave them open in any place (computer desk top for instance) where third parties can easily access them. Maintain the privacy of your account and account transactions. Don’t discuss, share, or reveal your transaction details to anybody, not even close friends.
- Keep a physical record of card details and card statements as that helps locate data and provide information in event of theft.
- When transacting purchases in retail outlets focus on how the card is being used and never let it out your sight.
- If you have cancelled old accounts tear up/ cut up the old cards and dispose them safely.
- Never place yourself in a situation where you have to hand over a blank unsigned receipt.
- Conduct weekly or monthly checks of card balances and old transactions, and do it as frequently as possible online, especially before/ following major purchases.
- Ensure you memorize the PIN number and never write it down or keep a written record in a wallet or diary where the information could fall into wrong hands.
Disputing charges other than those indicating fraud
The paying consumer need not/ should not allow errors or factual mistakes to ever go undisputed, and you will be happy to know that the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) allows consumers to dispute the following extraneous charges:
- Charges where the amount and/ or date is factually wrong.
- Instances where you have been charged notwithstanding the fact that the goods were never accepted by you or were not delivered as per the schedule agreed by the retailer.
- Instances where you have not received credits or company refunds.
- Instances where the card company debited you but failed to send statements to your correct billing address.
Take special note of the billing address that the card company specifies for reporting billing errors and mistakes and use that to report errors immediately as you notice them. Include full details of the account and accounting error and provide your contact number, ensuring that the information only goes through certified mail. The creditor gets 30 days to respond to an error notification, and in the meantime you are legally protected from withholding payments in respect of disputed charges.
It is much easier handling fraudulent credit card and debit card transactions and limiting their potential fallout when you are vigilant in scrutinizing your account. Besides, prompt reporting saves your account from being misutilized beyond recovery, and limits your liability vis-à-vis the card company. As in case of bodily health issues, the adage that prevention is better than cure applies equally to identity theft and card fraud. Know your account, know your transactions and protect your hard earned money from theft and fraud. TNL Car Title Loans 5858 W Main St #199, Frisco, TX, 75034 (817)609-8369