It is everyone’s worst nightmare: You receive your credit card or bank statement and see charges that you don’t recognize. Maybe your card was stolen or an online account was hacked. Maybe you were the victim of online fraud. Maybe your information was sold on the Dark Web. Regardless of how it happened, the attorneys at Cores & Associates can assist you in contesting the charges and restoring your good credit.
While this situation can be extremely stressful, credit card and bank account fraud is unfortunately very common and there are simple steps you can take to resolve the matter. Our experienced attorneys can help you navigate through the process.
Report the charges ASAP: The first step is to report the fraudulent charges to your bank or credit card provider. A simple call to the Customer Service Department is all it takes to start the process of contesting the charges. Make sure you have your account number handy, along with a list of the fraudulent charges. If the charge is on a credit card, your card will be cancelled (but your account will remain active) and you will receive a new card, with a new number, expiration date and security code, in the mail in 7-10 days, although you may be able to pay a small fee for express delivery. Usually, you will receive a temporary credit in the amount of the charge while the investigation is ongoing, which will become permanent at the successful conclusion of the case.
If the charge is on your bank account, typically the charge is placed on hold while the bank conducts an investigation. Your access to some account funds may be temporarily limited and your ability to conduct some routine account activities, like direct deposit or automated payments, may also be limited. It may take a few days or even several weeks for the investigation to be completed and the funds to be returned to the account.
Important Note!! It is important to notify your financial institutions immediately upon finding fraudulent charges. If you delay, you may find that the charges have already been processed and that you will be unable to retrieve the funds. Accordingly, you should check your bank and credit card statements immediately upon receiving them in the mail. Or, better yet, sign up for online access to your accounts, so you can check them at any time. Many institutions also now have text message alerts that will notify you of charges to your accounts as soon as they happen.
- Review your statements: After reporting the fraudulent usage, it is important to follow-up and make sure that the charges have been credited back to the account. Make sure to check the mailed or online statements to ensure that you have gotten your money back.
- Check your credit report: There are three credit bureaus in the U.S., Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. All three of these bureaus are currently offering free weekly credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com, through April 2021. These reports may also show other undetected fraud on old accounts that you have forgotten about or thought were closed. Again, you need to check these reports often and dispute any charges quickly! If you act quickly, you will not incur any damage to your credit report. However, if you wait, these false charges may become a permanent part of your credit history, which can have a negative impact on your ability to buy a house or car, get a job or get a loan.
There are many other things that you can do to protect yourself from financial fraud. We can guide you through the process and can help you to fight to get your money and good credit back, even if we never have to set foot in a courtroom! Contact Cores & Associates today at 732-414-6669.