What to do if your bank statement reveals a dodgy deal

What to do if you believe you have been targeted.

Credit card fraud on the rise

More than $530 million was collected in fraudulent transactions last financial year, most of them through credit, debit and charge cards, the Australian Payments Clearing Association revealed in its latest report.

The authority reported almost 2.67 million incidences of fraud, or 7320 dodgy transactions every single day. Even more worrying is the fact that the amount illegally taken from accounts has virtually doubled in just five years, and continues to trend upwards.

With identity theft, internet scams and skimming on the rise, there has never been a more important time to check your debit and credit statements thoroughly and regularly.

If you discover a suspicious transaction, call your bank or credit union immediately so they can block the card from being used. If you suspect money has been taken from your account in an EFTPOS transaction, contact your banking provider.

The procedure to dispute a transaction varies slightly between institutions, but generally they will ask you to:

  • Try to resolve the issue with the merchant, if you remember shopping there before.
  • If the merchant is not familiar, check your receipts to see if you can match up the amount charged with a purchase you have made. Often, merchants use different business names to the trading name you are used to seeing on their shopfront.
  • If you can’t recall making a particular purchase and you keep a diary, check the latter in case it prompts your memory about the transaction.
  • When all else fails to uncover why a transaction appears on your account, contact your bank immediately. If you discover a discrepancy at a later date, you have 210 days to dispute it. 

You can kick off a disputed transaction online through the website of your institution or call them. Banks may take up to 90 days to rectify an illegal entry. If their investigation proves that you were scammed, you can expect to receive a full refund from the bank.

Banks tend to take care of all inquiries and investigations into a disputed transaction. If they succeed in retrieving proof of purchase from the merchant, they will forward it to you. You then have 14 days to confirm the purchase or continue with the dispute.

If you do not accept the merchant’s detailed receipt, then your bank may ask you for further documentation.

For tips on minimising the risk of your account being scammed, visit the MoneySmart website. The site also has a video showing you how to recognise an ATM machine that has been tampered with in order to steal your credit card details.

Have you ever been scammed? If so, was your bank cooperative? How did you go about getting a refund?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    13th Dec 2017
    I have one about to start. Unpleasant.
    13th Dec 2017
    My credit card was scammed in Heathrow airport with me watching! I didn’t report it until i read the statement about 3 weeks later. To my surprise the bank accepted my case and said they’d notify the bank which processed the obviously scammed transaction. This bank had 45 days to respond. The entire amount (750.00) was refunded by my bank within 3 days with a letter saying that if it was proved that I’d paid 750.00 for a coffee and salad sandwich i’d have to give it back. Apparently scamming is so common banks don’t involve police unless it is a lot more money! That was the end of it and I don’t know if the cafe owners were charged. The bank statement just says 750.00 was debited and 750.00 credited by my bank. I reckon my bank just wrote it off as a bad debt and didn’t follow it up. BTW the 750.00 coffee was ghastly.

    13th Dec 2017
    What's that Mick? You're unpleasant? Don't be so hard on yourself!

    13th Dec 2017
    Great advice in this article. Thank you!

    I was scammed once, via a Mastercard Debit Card. When I alerted the Commonwealth Bank, they were helpful and I got the money back. They were all overseas transactions, and I haven't been overseas since 1990.
    billy boy
    13th Dec 2017
    all good, had the bank contact me, they picked it up, before, I even knew, and refunded, the amount, in about a week ;)