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Credit & Debit Card Fraud

Determining the Difference Between a Dispute or Fraud

There is a difference between a cardholder dispute and fraud, so please read the following information carefully. Filing a claim incorrectly will result in a delay of our investigation.

Defining Fraud Cases

Fraud is defined as third party unauthorized use of a card. Common fraud situations include:

  • Swiped transactions after the card is lost or stolen
  • Internet charges at sites where the cardholder has not made a purchase nor is waiting for an order
  • A swiped transaction appearing out of the cardholder’s home area and the cardholder still has their card (counterfeiting).


What to Do if You Become a Victim of Fraud

Card fraud can happen through a variety of channels, including email scams, data breaches, online scams, and card or mail theft. One of the best ways to keep your card safe is by not sharing the numbers with anyone and alerting us immediately if you notice any suspicious activity.

Below are steps to follow if your purse or wallet is stolen, your home is burglarized, or you think you have become a victim of identity theft:

  • Call INOVA Federal Credit Union’s Member Services immediately at (800) 826-5465 so we can deactivate your card and reissue a new one.
  • Close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened without your approval.
  • Place a "fraud alert" on your credit reports by calling one of the major credit reporting agencies below:
  • Close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened without your approval.

  • File a report with your local law enforcement agency, as well as with the Federal Trade Commission by calling (877) IDTHEFT or online at
  • Once a year, check your credit report for any suspicious activity or inaccuracies. Visit to obtain your free copy.

In the event of a data breach, if we feel that your card may have fraudulent transactions or there is risk associated with your card, INOVA may contact you to discuss measures necessary to protect your account. Another great way to monitor your accounts is through our INOVA Alerts powered by Visa®. When you set up INOVA Alerts powered by Visa®, we’ll send you an alert when a transaction occurs on your INOVA Visa debit or credit account. It’s easy to sign up, simply click the link below and choose the type of alerts you’d like to receive and the transaction amounts that will trigger an alert. Once you receive an alert, you can monitor your account from wherever you are and take quick action to reduce or avoid fraud. 

Sign up Now! click here for more details.

If you haven't done so already, please make sure that INOVA FCU has your current phone number on file. That way, if we uncover any scams affecting your accounts, we can easily alert you and take proper action.



Defining Dispute Cases

Dispute situations are defined as a disagreement between the merchant and the cardholder where the cardholder is asking for their Issuer’s/INOVA assistance. There are a variety of reasons for a dispute.  Some of the more common reasons are:

  • Merchandise or service not received: The card has been charged for a transaction(s), but the merchandise or service has not been received.
  • Merchandise returned: The card has been charged for a transaction(s), but the merchandise has been returned and there has been no credit issued by the merchant.
  • Duplicate processing: The card has been charged twice for a transaction that was authorized only once.
  • Unrecognized: The card has been charged for a transaction that is not recognized. A copy of the documentation received from the merchant to certify the charge (sales draft) will be sent to the cardholder for review.

With disputes, the Credit Union is submitting a dispute between you and the merchant to VISA® on your behalf. VISA® will make a final determination as to whether or not we can charge back the merchant for your purchase. If we can charge back the merchant, you will be reimbursed; however if we cannot charge back the merchant, you will not be reimbursed.

Before INOVA submits a dispute on your behalf, you must have first tried to work out the dispute with the merchant. Documentation showing you made an attempt to do this is required before we can submit the dispute to VISA®.