Credit card fraud is a very serious crime that is becoming more and more popular with the advent of so many technologically advanced ways of stealing people’s credit information. Credit card fraud that results from deceptive practices usually causes the consumer’s finances and credit ratings to be negatively affected for a very long time. Anyone who has been the victim of identity theft or credit card fraud can tell you that it’s a nightmare to get your financial situation back in order.
If you believe you have been a victim of credit card fraud, you’ll want to get in contact with an experienced consumer fraud lawyer as soon as possible. By scheduling a consultation with a lawyer, you will learn about your rights and the actions that can be taken to protect you.
The Tactics Used for Credit Card Fraud
Credit card companies have many tactics that they use to aid in the defrauding of consumers. These credit card fraud practices deceive unsuspecting consumers usually without the consumer even knowing about it.
The deceptive practices used in credit card fraud include:
- Hidden fees
- Masked APRs (Annual Percentage Rates)
- Late fees
- Double charging
- Failure to credit past payments
- Charging for unknown items
Hidden fees include any fee that the consumer is unaware of that is tied to the use of the credit card in which they use. These hidden fees can include fees for:
- Cash advances
- Cash withdrawals from ATMs
- Balance transfers
- Convenience checks attached to the credit card
- Foreign transactions
Americans pay on average $31 million in fees for their credit cards, according to Consumer Reports.
APRs are Annual Percentage Rates. Masked APRs are the percentage rates that companies say they will offer, but that may only be applied for a short amount of time. These low introductory rates may last six months to a year. After the introductory time, the regular APR that has been hidden or masked from the consumer will be applied to the credit card account.
Several states have usury laws disallowing credit card companies to charge late fees. Credit card companies will get around these laws by setting up their headquarters in states where the usury laws allow charging for late fees. You can take legal action if you have been charged a late fee and you live in a state that does not allow them.
Double charging occurs when a credit card company charges the consumer twice for a single service or item.
Some credit card companies hold payments and do not deposit them until the payment is late. This lets the company charge for additional fees.
Credit card companies may charge consumers for services or items that the consumer never received or purchased.
Your Legal Rights
You are protected from credit card fraud as a consumer under state and federal laws. The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) has put rules and regulations in place to:
- Aid in proper billing practices
- Require instant correction of any billing error
- Protect all consumers and their credit scores while disputes with credit card companies are settled
The FCBA also provides for damages incurred by the consumer to include:
- Twice the amount of finance charges up to $1,000
- Any court costs
- The consumer’s attorney fees