See a Fraudulent Pending Charge on Your Credit Card? Here’s What to Do


Some people don’t check their credit card statements until the end of the month, or when their bills are due. But as a general rule, I like to check my statement weekly.

I do this for a couple of reasons: First, to keep track of my spending and avoid going overboard, and second, to be vigilant about fraud. I’ve had my credit card number stolen, and I know what a hassle it can be to dispute a charge, so I figure checking frequently can keep me ahead of those issues.

A few months back, I noticed a pending charge that was fraudulent. Here’s how I handled it — and what to do if you land in the same boat.

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When a pending charge hits that’s not legit

When I noticed the pending fraudulent charge, I called my credit card company and asked that the charge not go through. Unfortunately, my credit card company couldn’t oblige — they couldn’t stop that charge from posting to my account.

I explained that the charge wasn’t legitimate and that I disputed it, but once again, my credit card company couldn’t help. They said a dispute couldn’t happen until the charge went through.

At that point, I was pretty frustrated. But then the credit card company representative gave me some good advice — call the merchant on the fraudulent charge and ask them to reserve it.

I contacted the company, explained the situation, and asked them to undo the charge. The company was more than willing, and sure enough, when I checked my credit card balance a few days later, that fraudulent charge was no longer pending. And because the charge never went through, I didn’t have to dispute it.

It could be that the merchant I dealt with was particularly accommodating. But if you see a fraudulent charge pending, it pays to reach out to the company involved and ask them to reverse the charge. It could save you a world of hassle.

Incidentally, the company I dealt with told me my fraudulent charge was a recurring monthly one — and thankfully, they were able to cancel it so I wouldn’t have the same issue every 30 days. If you see a pending fraudulent charge and call to investigate it, ask if it’s a one-time charge or a recurring one.

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There’s an important lesson in all this — it never hurts to play detective when something about your finances doesn’t look right. I’m glad I got into the habit of checking my credit card balance weekly, as it allowed me to be proactive when I saw that something was off. At the end of the day, it saved me a big headache.

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