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Steps to dealing with unauthorized banking transactions



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If you keep a running tab on your bank account and check your transactions regularly, you may run across an unauthorized account. Usually, this is a sign that someone has stolen your debit card or they have somehow skimmed the number and have access to your checking account.

Follow these six steps if you find an unauthorized charge on your account.

Contact Your Bank

First, contact your bank to find out more about the transaction. The bank should be able to tell you if the transaction was from a debit card or electronic transaction.

If it was a debit card or point of sale transaction, it may be enough to cancel the debit card. If it is an ACH transaction, you will likely need to close the account.

Your bank can cancel a debit card over the phone, but you may need to go to a physical branch to close your account. But in the meantime, be sure your bank puts a temporary freeze on the account so further charges accrue while you resolve the issue.

Contact the Vendor

Next, you need to contact the vendor to begin the process of disputing the charge. Some vendors may work with you to press fraud charges and to generate a report that you can file with the police. It depends on where and when the charges were made.

If the charges have already posted to your account, you may have to wait several days for the dispute to go through and have the money credited to your account. If you check your transactions on a daily basis, you may be able to catch the charge while it is still pending.

Dispute the charge with your Bank

Oftentimes, you can dispute a charge with your bank or credit card company by filling out a form online and providing some information about the fraudulent charge. You may also have to go into your bank and physically fill out a dispute form.

You have 60 days to dispute the charge formally. Still, it is important to act as quickly as you can, especially if you need the money that was taken out of your account. This is one reason why it is so important to balance your account to your bank statement on a regular basis. You can do this monthly or weekly.

File a fraud or Police Report


Depending on the number of charges made and the severity of the situation, you may need to file a fraud report with the police. This shows the bank that you did not make the charges and can help to clear up your account.

This does not necessarily mean that you will receive your money back more quickly, but it is helpful in doing so. The police report may also be necessary if you find out that the thief has attempted identity theft, as well. Be sure to keep a copy of the police report on file in case you need it in the future.

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