Disputing a Fraudulent Transaction on a Credit Card

It is not uncommon to hear that a family member, friend, or a colleague was a victim of credit card fraud. In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission received more than one million fraud reports.[1]The report separates individuals by age groups.  Individuals between the age of 20-29 account for 40% of fraud reports while individuals between 60-69 account for 20 % of fraud reports. While these percentages account for reported frauds, there are many that go unreported. One possible explanation for higher report rates in the 20-29 age group is the digitalization of banking resources. These resources include notifications of suspicious bank activity and so on. These positive aspects of the digitalization of banking are a step towards consumer empowerment. However, digital trends resonate more heavily with newer generations than that of previous generations.

Under the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA), a fraudulent transaction that appears on the account can be disputed. What qualifies as a fraudulent transaction?  A transaction is fraudulent if the card holder had no knowledge of the transaction and did not approve the charge. For instance, a transaction that appears on the account that was not authorized by the card holder is fraudulent. The FCBA grants consumers various protections: (1) If the card was lost or stolen and reported before any unauthorized charges were made, the liability is $0; (2) Within 2 business days after you learn about the loss or theft, the liability might be $50; (3) More than 2 business days after you learn about the loss or theft, but less than 60 calendar days after your statement is sent to you, the liability might be $500; or, (4) More than 60 calendar days after your statement is sent to you all the money taken from your ATM/debit card account, and possibly more; for example, money in accounts linked to your debit account.[2]

It is important to know that if you are victim of fraud you have rights. It is also important to note that time is critical to limit your liability. Once you discover the fraudulent transaction, contact your bank immediately. While banks and credit card companies might expand a customer’s rights, you are provided basic protection under the FCBA.

For further information about disputing fraudulent credit card transactions, please visit https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0219-disputing-credit-card-charges

[1]https://www.ftc.gov/policy/reports/policy-reports/commission-staff-reports/consumer-sentinel-network-data-book-2017/fraud-by-amount-lost

[2]https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0213-lost-or-stolen-credit-atm-and-debit-cards

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