11 Signs Your Credit Card Has Been Hacked

Quick Answer

Suspicious charges, missing mail and surprisingly low available credit are a few signs your credit card may have been hacked. Contacting your card issuer immediately is the best way to protect your account from further fraud.

Stressed couple due to credit card hacking.

Credit card fraud is prevalent. In fact, it was the most common type of identity theft in 2023, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). With so much information stored and transmitted digitally, your credit card information can be hacked and used without your card ever leaving your wallet. Fraud on existing credit cards accounts increased 14% last year compared with 2022, according to FTC data.

Dealing with fraudulent purchases can be challenging and time-consuming. Watching for signs that your credit card has been hacked is crucial for protecting your account from further damage. Read on for a list of signs that your credit card has been hacked.

1. You Notice Strange Purchases

Strange purchases appearing on your credit card is often one of the first signs a credit card has been hacked. Don't wait for your billing statement to arrive. Check your online transaction history periodically to catch signs of a compromised credit card account sooner.

While it's possible the transaction is legitimate if the company you did business with reports transactions under a different name, it's important to remain skeptical. If you see a transaction you don't recognize, think back to your previous purchases and go through any receipts you kept to try to verify it. Alert your financial institution to unfamiliar purchases as quickly as you can.

2. You Notice Small Charges on Your Account

Small and unfamiliar transactions are easy to overlook, but can indicate that your credit card information has been hacked. Sometimes thieves initiate small purchases to see if the account is active. When small charges process successfully, the hacker may then use your account to make larger purchases.

3. You See Payments in Other Locations

Unless you're traveling, most of the credit card purchases on your credit card statement will be at locations near where you live. If you spot charges in cities and states or even countries that you haven't visited, it may be a sign that someone has your credit card information.

4. You Have a Lower Available Credit Limit

Checking your available credit before making purchases is a good habit to ensure you don't exceed your credit limit. Seeing an available credit limit lower than you anticipated could signal that someone has been using your card. Check your recent purchases and pending transactions to spot anything out of the ordinary.

5. You're Missing Mail

Your credit card billing statement should arrive around the same time each month. If you're missing a statement or other email, a hacker may have changed your mailing address to make it harder for you to catch unauthorized purchases. You can confirm your mailing address and check your credit card statement online to catch signs of fraud.

6. You're Getting Calls Asking You to Verify a Purchase

Be suspicious of anyone who calls asking you to give personal or financial information. A call to verify a credit card purchase could be a phishing attempt from a hacker who needs just a little more information to use your credit card. With these calls, they already have your account number and may ask for your security code, expiration date or billing ZIP code.

7. You Get a Purchase Notification, but You Didn't Buy Anything

Purchase notifications from your card issuer are a great way to keep track of your purchases in real-time. Receiving a notification for a purchase you didn't make is a strong sign your credit card number is being used by someone.

8. Your Card Is Declined

Banks watch for fraudulent activity and may freeze a credit card when purchases seem suspicious. This protects the bank, the retailer and you from further losses. Your card can also be declined if the thief has maxed out your credit limit on purchases.

9. New Spam Calls or Emails

Hackers often sell your credit card and contact information, which can lead to an increase in spam following a hacking incident. If you're suddenly receiving an influx of spam calls or emails, check your credit card transactions to be sure you haven't been hacked.

10. A Company That Has Your Card Information Has a Breach

There's a chance your credit card has been hacked if you receive a data breach notification or read news that a company you've used your credit card with has suffered a data breach. Contact your credit card issuer even if you haven't spotted any fraudulent charges.

11. Your Account Information Has Changed

If you notice your phone number, email address or mailing address has been updated on your account, it could be a sign that someone has accessed your account. Check your credit card transaction history for signs of fraud.

What to Do if You're a Victim of Credit Card Fraud

Here are some best practices on how to secure your account.

  • Freeze your credit card. You can pause your card while you review your receipts to verify whether you made the purchases. Check with your authorized users also.
  • Contact your card issuer. Once you're sure the purchases weren't authorized, report the fraud to your credit card issuer immediately. They can give you a new credit card with an updated account number.
  • Dispute unauthorized charges. Let your card issuer know which transactions were unauthorized and they'll be removed from your account. Your liability for unauthorized credit card purchases is automatically limited to $50, but many credit card issuers offer zero fraud liability. This benefit means you won't have to pay for unauthorized purchases made on your credit card.
  • Change your passwords. Protect your online account from further fraud by creating a new, secure password for any accounts that may have been compromised. For extra security, also change your passwords to any sites where you've stored that card number and accounts that used the same password as the compromised account.

After you report fraud to your credit card issuer, it may take five to seven business days to get a replacement card in the mail. In the meantime, your card issuer may offer a digital card you can use for online purchases or store in your mobile wallet.

Once you have a new account number, update any subscriptions or automatic recurring payments to avoid service interruptions or additional fees.

The Bottom Line

Many credit card issuers offer security features that can protect you if your credit card gets hacked. Log in to your account or contact customer service to see if your card offers features like instant purchase notifications, fraud alerts, card lock and paperless statements.

In addition to your credit card's security features, you can enroll in free credit monitoring to receive alerts to changes in your credit information. These early alerts can help you quickly respond to possible credit card or identity fraud.