Credit cards are a standout amongst the most secure channels for payment, yet they’re not flawless. Truth be told, your cards are a bigger source of focus for hackers and crooks trying to steal from you than any other financial facility.

Thankfully, you are protected by certain provisions that enable you to raise such fraudulent charges without paying the interest on them either. If you find yourself in such a situation, unravel the problem by running through the following steps.

Step 1 – Identify the unauthorized charge

Nowadays, the card company spots false charges well before the cardholder does. When such an event occurs, they generally call you to caution you, and issue a fresh card while blocking the old one to contain any further illicit charges.

Be that as it may, every once in a while, the card organization doesn’t lock down on fraudulent charges. To identify such charges, it’s essential that you investigate each transaction on your card. If you spot a dubious transaction, make an inquiry into the name of the trader. A speedy web hunt could assure you if it’s not an illicit charge, but one managed under a trader name other than the one you recollect dealing with. If you’ve ruled this out, then move on to step two.

Step 2 – Contact the credit card issuer

Once you’re sure that the transaction was indeed an attempt at fraud, then move to contact your credit card issuing company. Banks have a helpline for such situations. To avoid any further illicit transactions on your card, you must call the bank’s call center and request them to block your credit card.

When writing to the card provider, provide a summary of the incident to the credit card company, specifically noting names, dates and the place involved. Be sure to include proof that the transaction was not carried out by you. You must also ensure that you keep a record of the communication and keep the return receipt safe. Store the copies of your letters if you’ve sent them by post and not by e-mail.  Keep notes also on any attempts at calling the company you might have made prior to this.

[Related: How To Save More With Your Credit Card]

Step 3 – Be aware of the resolution process

When you take this issue up with your card provider, it must be examined and you should expect a resolution prior to the 90-120 day mark. The bank or card provider may issue a temporary credit for the disputed amount. After the case is resolved and the outcome is in your favor, this credit will become permanent on your card statement. However, if the outcome is not in your favor, the bank will reverse this interim credit. The bank may even levy a processing fee if the transaction is found to be legitimate.

If you’re disputing a transaction on your credit card, you don’t need to pay the charge that is being questioned, but you do need to continue paying the part of your bill that is not dubious. However, the card company can apply the said questionable sum to your usable credit limit. For instance, disputing a sum of Dh3,000 in carrier tickets with a credit limit of Dh10,000 would leave you with Dh7,000 in accessible credit until the point when the dispute is settled. On the off chance that the issue is settled and ruled in your favour, the company should drop the charge and the interest involved.

[Related: Thinking of paying the minimum 5% on your credit card? Think again…]

In conclusion…

Even though banks and card companies have both actively been policing this area, credit card fraud does happen. As they say, prevention is better than the cure. A few simple steps can help you prevent such situations from arising in the first place:

1) Handle your card as you do your diamonds: Never allow it to remain unattended.

2) Streamline the number of cards you carry with you.

3) Put your signature at the back of a new credit card.

4) Keep an eye on your monthly bank statements regularly and reach out to your bank when anomalies crop up.

5) Set stronger online passwords and change them frequently.