Because I use my credit cards as tools to earn points and miles for travel, I am very in tune with any charges made to my account. I was recently reviewing one of my credit cards online to see what date the statement would be posting. After finding the information, I was about to log out of my account. Just before I did, I spotted a $120 charge that caught my eye. Something seemed wrong, so I investigated further.
Although the charge was posted from a cell phone company that I do have an account with, there were some things that didn’t make sense to me.
- I have not been using this credit card very much recently
- I do not use this card to pay that bill (but it is listed in my payment methods)
- The charged amount ($120) was not for the amount of my recurring bill
- I had just paid my bill with this company 5 days earlier
- The cell phone company never directly charges my credit card. Any additional charges (which there never are) would be added to my account and then billed to me. Once I had been billed, I would then select how to pay the bill.
Just to be certain that this wasn’t a legitimate charge, I went to my cell phone account online to make sure that there were no charges for this amount. There were not. That was when I was sure that this was a fraudulent charge.
The next step was grabbing my card and calling the number on the back to reach my credit card company. I gave the Customer Service Agent my information and reviewed the details of the situation with her. She put a temporary freeze on my account to prevent any other charges from coming through. This was not a problem for me since I don’t have any automatic payments scheduled and don’t have any immediate uses for that card.
If this had been a charge from a company that I did not have an account with, it would have been simpler. In that case, we would have been 100% certain that the charge was fraudulent and that would have been that. Since I do have an active account with this cell phone company, it muddied the waters a bit. The Customer Service Agent for my credit card requested that I call them, just to make sure there wasn’t a billing error before we completely shut down the card.
This all happened very early in the morning so I waited for my cell phone company to open before calling them. Sure enough, they confirmed that there were no charges for $120 on my account. Their Representative verified seeing my last regular payment and agreed that they would never have just billed something directly to my card.
As soon as I confirmed with the cell phone company that there was no charge for $120 from them, I called my credit card company back. Since my card had been frozen during my earlier call, I had to provide them with a lot more identifying information in order for them to make sure that it was really me calling. Once we had established that I was who I said I was, I went over the situation with the new Customer Service Agent. She explained what would happen next.
- They would be closing my current card immediately
- I would receive an e-mail outlining the situation and providing me with additional fraud prevention tips and techniques
- They would be issuing a new card right away
Because this is not the first time that I have had a card get hacked, I didn’t panic about the situation. I calmly worked through the process of reporting, investigating and finding a solution. During previous hacks, the charges had never been from a company that I actually have a relationship with. That added an additional layer to this situation and made it just a little trickier to validate. But it was still not a long process to correct. I found the charge at 6:30 am and had worked through and completed the steps by 8:15 am.
I have been through this type of process with both credit card companies and with banks. It is much easier to work with a credit card company than it is a local bank. Credit card companies can usually validate the charge is fraudulent and remove it right away but with a bank account it can take a while to correct and effect your funds availability. I am glad that I have chosen to use credit cards for paying bills which gives me an extra sense of security. It’s good to know if something comes up they will be able to take care of it quickly and efficiently with no real inconvenience to me.
Because this isn’t my only credit card, having to wait a few days for a replacement is no big deal. It is also not a card that I have any recurring payments set up for which makes it just a simple replacement. If you ever find yourself in this situation, make sure to check any accounts that may have the card listed as a payment method. You will need to update those payment methods to the new card information to avoid having any payment disruptions going forward.
I am thankful that I caught this charge right away and that Chase made it quick and easy to resolve the situation. Although it is frustrated to be hacked, credit card companies like Chase have Fraud Teams ready to jump into action to help you resolve the issue.