Whether you use your credit card only for emergencies or for everyday purchases, you need to monitor the charges appearing on your account. Theft of credit card numbers is a big problem, and the first indication that your own credit card has been compromised might be an unfamiliar charge. If you see a charge description with which you are unfamiliar, it is important to research that charge immediately.
Log on to your credit card account if you have established online access. Call the customer service number on the back of the card if you have not yet established online access.
Click on the "Recent Transactions" or similar link on the webpage, or press the appropriate key(s) on your phone to review a list of recent charges.
Review the descriptions for each charge on your account. Check the description listed for each charge carefully. If you are reviewing charges on the phone, press the appropriate prompt(s) on the phone to speak to a customer service representative for a description of the charge.
Look at the description of the charge closely. The description will include the name of the company making the charge, as well as a phone number or website address. Most credit card statements from MasterCard, American Express, Visa and Discover card include this information on their statements, and many list contact phone numbers and company names on the list of recent charges as well. Call the customer service number on the back of your credit card if this is not listed for more information.
Call the phone number listed on the description of the charge. Ask to speak to a customer service representative who can tell you exactly what the charge was for and what types of goods and services were purchased.
Refer to the list of charges you keep in a notepad or receipt envelope. Keeping a record of each charge gives you the ability to go back through your statement and compare charges to the ones you authorized. Contact the credit card company at once if you spot an unauthorized charge.
Based in Pennsylvania, Bonnie Conrad has been working as a professional freelance writer since 2003. Her work can be seen on Credit Factor, Constant Content and a number of other websites. Conrad also works full-time as a computer technician and loves to write about a number of technician topics. She studied computer technology and business administration at Harrisburg Area Community College.