Spotting Fraudulent Credit Card Fees

Most people are familiar with credit card fees including the APR, over-limit fees and annual fees, but have you ever really read your credit card statement? If you have not, then you may be getting charged fraudulent fees. In order to help prevent these types of activities, the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (CARD Act) was enacted. The CARD Act was passed as a way to provide consumers protection and to make the use of credit more transparent. The design of credit card statements has become more consumer friendly so that consumers understand how their credit is being used and what they are being charged to use it. Even still, there are loopholes in the act can allow fraudulent fees to be charged.


In order to spot a fraudulent credit card fee, you must review your monthly statement thoroughly. Reviewing your statement will allow you to reconcile the charges that you made. Mark the charges that are not familiar. Examine the fees being assessed to you by the credit card company. There are standard fees that will be assessed monthly, such as interest. With the CARD Act, your transactions, fees and interest should be clearly indicated on your statement. You can reconcile your interest and fees with your credit card agreement. Your statement should reflect what was agreed upon. If changes have occurred and you were not notified, then your credit card company is in violation of the CARD Act.


If you find fraudulent charges or fees, immediately contact your cardholder. In addition to notifying them via telephone, you must submit a written letter detailing the fraudulent activity. Be sure to include your name, account number, date of activity, amount of charge and the vendor (if available). Submitting your claim in writing in hard copy is important for two reasons: 1) your cardholder does not have to investigate a claim made over the phone or electronically and 2) it authorizes your cardholder not to pay the amount until an investigation is completed. Be sure to keep a copy of the letter for your records.

Protecting Yourself

There are steps that you can take to protect yourself. First, be careful where you access your account. If you utilize the Internet to access your account or use your card, make sure the site is a secure website. Second, review the terms of any changes made by the credit card company. The more informed you are of changes, the better you are in spotting fraudulent fees. Third, if your credit card company will provide electronic notification of when purchases are made, you may utilize e-notification to keep track of card usage. Last, always review your monthly statements and reconcile them. Most people trust that everything being charged is supposed to be there. Knowledge is key to preventing fraudulent credit card fees.

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