Having unauthorized charges on a credit or debit card is a real problem that many bank account holders face every year. Many banks have set up systems, often open 24 hours a day, for customers to use in case of bank fraud. Each bank has its own process for reporting such issues, and it is important to be familiar with the policy of your specific bank.
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Prevent Fraudulent Activity
Checking bank statements, either online or through paper copies, is essential in protecting yourself against credit card fraud. Look for any suspicious charges on your account and keep an accurate record of any charges you made yourself. Take into account any automatic drafts you may have forgotten about. Remember, your card does not need to be lost or stolen in order for someone to use it. Many times, card numbers are obtained illegally through websites (when you make online purchases) or simply by someone reading the numbers off of your card without you knowing. If you lose your card or it is stolen, be sure to contact your bank immediately. The bank will be able to cancel the card and check for any unauthorized charges.
Know What To Do
In the event that your debit card is used, don't panic. You will most likely be covered for any unauthorized charges on your card. Many banks have programs developed to protect customers against unauthorized purchases. If you notice any charges on your bank statement, contact your bank immediately. You can either call your banks branch or customer service department. Either number will be able to connect you with the department you need to speak with about your account. The first step will be to cancel your current debit card so no one can use it again. The bank will issue you a new card with an entirely different number that you will receive by mail. If you need a temporary card to use until then, many banks will issue them in the branch offices. A fraud account representative will be assigned to your case, and information will be collected to refund you the money taken from your account and, hopefully, discover who used your card.
What Not To Do
Do not, under any circumstances, try to figure out who used your card and approach him for it. If you have reason to believe it was a child, spouse or sibling, that is a different situation. However, if you believe your card was used illegally, it is important to let authorities deal with it instead of trying to do it yourself. In most cases, if someone is going to steal your account information and use your card, he is a criminal. Dealing with him could lead to more problems, and without going through the bank, you are not following proper reporting procedures and could risk not being compensated for the money lost. Let the professionals deal with it; that way you are sure you are covered and protected.