Unauthorized mobile payments
An unauthorized mobile payment is a payment that you didn’t make or approve.
This includes unauthorized payments such as:
- contactless or tap payments
- quick response or QR code payments
- text message or email money transfers
Paying for an unauthorized mobile payment
Usually you don’t have to pay for unauthorized mobile payments. The financial institution that issued your credit card or debit card may have policies in place that protect you from unauthorized mobile payments.
However, in some cases, you may have to pay for unauthorized mobile payments if you:
- share your personal identification number (PIN) or the password you use to make mobile payments
- can approve payments with your fingerprints and you register other people’s fingerprints on the device
- disable the feature that requires a password for mobile payments
Protecting yourself from unauthorized mobile payments
To protect yourself from unauthorized mobile payments:
- keep the PIN or the password of your payment method or app secret
- keep the PIN or the password for your mobile device secret
- set the "require password" option so every mobile payment requires password confirmation
Use different passwords to access your mobile device and to approve a payment. You may also use a fingerprint to access your device but a password to approve payments.
Remember to remove all personal data, including mobile wallets, when you change mobile devices.
Reporting an unauthorized mobile payment
Where you report an unauthorized mobile payment depends on the payment method you used for the transaction.
Mobile payments linked to your cell phone or wireless service provider
If an unauthorized payment appears on your cell phone or wireless service provider bill, contact your provider.
Consider asking your cell phone or wireless service provider to block third-party charges by vendors to your wireless account for features such as text messages and ring tones. This may help avoid further unauthorized mobile payments.
If your complaint is not resolved, you can contact the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) for assistance. CCTS is an independent organization dedicated to resolving television and telecom services complaints.
Mobile payments linked to a debit or credit card
If you find an unauthorized mobile payment made using an account linked to your credit or debit card, contact the financial institution that issued your debit or credit card.
The credit or debit card issuer’s name or logo should be on the card.
If a federally regulated financial institution issued your credit or debit card, they must have a process in place to handle complaints.
Mobile payments linked to a prepaid card
Contact the prepaid card issuer if you find an unauthorized mobile payment linked to a prepaid card.
The prepaid card issuer’s name or logo should be on the card or the card packaging.
For prepaid or gift cards issued by a single retailer or retail chain, contact the retailer.
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