See a Fraudulent Pending Charge on Your Credit Card? Here's What to Do

by Maurie Backman | Updated July 21, 2021 - First published on April 21, 2021

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Sometimes you can nip credit card fraud in the bud and avoid a hassle.

Some people don't check their credit card statements until the end of the month, or when their bills are due. But as a general rule, I like to check my statement weekly.

I do this for a couple of reasons: First, to keep track of my spending and avoid going overboard, and second, to be vigilant about fraud. I've had my credit card number stolen, and I know what a hassle it can be to dispute a charge, so I figure checking frequently can keep me ahead of those issues.

A few months back, I noticed a pending charge that was fraudulent. Here's how I handled it -- and what to do if you land in the same boat.

When a pending charge hits that's not legit

When I noticed the pending fraudulent charge, I called my credit card company and asked that the charge not go through. Unfortunately, my credit card company couldn't oblige -- they couldn't stop that charge from posting to my account.

I explained that the charge wasn't legitimate and that I disputed it, but once again, my credit card company couldn't help. They said a dispute couldn't happen until the charge went through.

At that point, I was pretty frustrated. But then the credit card company representative gave me some good advice -- call the merchant on the fraudulent charge and ask them to reserve it.

I contacted the company, explained the situation, and asked them to undo the charge. The company was more than willing, and sure enough, when I checked my credit card balance a few days later, that fraudulent charge was no longer pending. And because the charge never went through, I didn't have to dispute it.

It could be that the merchant I dealt with was particularly accommodating. But if you see a fraudulent charge pending, it pays to reach out to the company involved and ask them to reverse the charge. It could save you a world of hassle.

Incidentally, the company I dealt with told me my fraudulent charge was a recurring monthly one -- and thankfully, they were able to cancel it so I wouldn't have the same issue every 30 days. If you see a pending fraudulent charge and call to investigate it, ask if it's a one-time charge or a recurring one.

There's an important lesson in all this -- it never hurts to play detective when something about your finances doesn't look right. I'm glad I got into the habit of checking my credit card balance weekly, as it allowed me to be proactive when I saw that something was off. At the end of the day, it saved me a big headache.

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