Notice something odd on your banking or credit card statement? If you see a charge on your debit or credit card that you didn’t make or approve, here’s what you can do.
What to do if you see unauthorized charges on your account
With information adapted from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), here are some steps to take if you believe there have been unauthorized charges on your accounts:
- Change your passwords immediately
- Notify your bank or credit card issuer immediately
- Report any transactions you didn’t make or approve
- Check your credit report for any credit you didn’t apply for
- Read your credit card or debit card agreements carefully so you’re clear on the terms and conditions and any important time frames
Credit cards: When an unauthorized transaction is made with your credit card, your maximum liability, by law, can’t be more than $50.00. However, if your PIN was used at an ATM, you may be liable for the entire amount. Your credit card agreement must explain your maximum liability if your card is used without your permission. Learn more about the rules when it comes to lost or stolen credit cards.
Debit cards: You’re protected against unauthorized transactions when you use a debit card. If you took the necessary steps to protect your PIN, you should get your money back. Learn more about when you may be liable.
Making a complaint
According to the FCAC, all federally regulated banks must have a complaint-handling procedure in place for handling unauthorized transactions. Learn how to make a complaint.
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About Consumer Protection BC
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.
10 thoughts on “What to do if you see unauthorized charges on your account”
don’t dismiss notification emails from Paypal etc. as spam or click bait wheen you get them saying a purchase has been made….I almost did, and then came to realize Paypal’s hack back a year or more ago had made entry into the site possible for hackers, and once in, they can use any credit card you have listed there….and in my case they bought over $900 worth of clothing online….I immediately did all the above, and thankfully got the money back, but sometimes it starts with an email notification that alerts you to to traffic being done / attempted on your card or account.
Hi there, thank you so much for sharing your experience! I am glad to hear you were able to get your money back.
I’m fighting two online banks current and cash app neither one wants to give me my money back and u definitely did not make these charges. It bull. I dont know what to do
Hey Jan, thanks for reaching out. According to the FCAC, banks are required to have a proper complaint process. To complain directly to the banks, I suggest you follow the process outlined in the “making a complaint” section of the blog above. If you believe the banks are not abiding by the rules, you can submit a complaint to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada here: https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/corporate/contact-us.html
Use the Costco Mastercard and if I see a bad charge against the card I immediately contact Master Charge. The charge card companies are very good about returning your money. If you use a debit card and get a hit on it there is generally no protection at all. I once had a fraudulent charge on a credit card from a Russian using my card number for gambling. It goes to show how far afield the evil did can come from.
Thanks for sharing your tip, Donn!
In my opinion you are mistaken. I can defend the position. Write to me in PM, we will talk.
Hi Anthony, please feel free to write to us at email@example.com – thank you!
I have a long “sob story”, where I lost use of my computer and while desperately searching for solutions ordered a program called Advanced system repair pro May 13th, paid by my wife’s visa credit card, which has a lower limit… downloaded the program, the money was drawn out of visa May 16th, $ 81.51, and $ 3.95, after analysing my computer this program had concerns of my photo editing program ACDsee and flagged it out, I have been using this program from 2013, with no problem, so just ignored it… but then this program wiped out my photo program with ~ 15000 pictures (the kids, grandkids, fishing, hunting, holidays, travels to foreign countries…) in it called for help ? but nothing happened, uninstalled the program, but then to my surprise, got a notice of renewal June the 13th with a charge $ 177.43 !?! contacted to vendor, but got some kind of an agent called PADDLE, demanded that the charges must be cancelled, because I do not want this program, I did not order it and it has caused nothing but problems ! and they said, they can’t find my order and they cannot help me, continued sending messages, but they just sent me links to different websites and demanded to see the Paypal record ? I never used Paypal , this outfit, after gaining our financial information jut want to draw money from our account !!! I believe this is fraud ! breach of trust and criminal and must be punishable ! we are an elderly couple with quite limited computer skills and I would like to have you opinion and possible help to straighten this, because We just can’t afford all these extra expenses on our fixed income…Thank you very much
Hi Jukka, thanks for your question. It sounds like you were unable to come to a resolution with the company directly. I can’t advise on your next steps, but you might want to consider approaching your credit card company to cancel the charge. They may require some information on the charge like the reason it occurred. Refer to the blog above and other related posts for more information on your options. Hope this helps!