debt

Don't let bill errors empty your wallet

Unauthorized use of your credit card
Unauthorized use of your credit card © David Evison/Shutterstock.com

You look in your wallet, and your credit card is AWOL. Or you still have your card, but there are charges on your bill that you don't recognize. Someone has stolen your credit card or just the credit card number.

The good news: Your liability for that theft is generally only $50, Wu says, and you can invoke your rights against unauthorized use by calling -- no need to write a letter. You don't have a 60-day deadline either, but don't procrastinate while someone continues to rack up charges on your account. "You want to stop the theft," says Wu. "Your credit card company wants to stop the theft. They're going to cancel the card."

But the credit card issuer is not obligated to send you a replacement card. "The issuer can always close your account or reduce your credit limit if the issuer thinks you present a risk," she adds.

Takeaway: Call as soon as you spot unauthorized credit card purchases.

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