The Time I Found A Fraud Credit Card Charge

Did I tell you about the time I found a fraudulent credit card charge on my statement?

So I open up my American Express bill and look over the charges.  (You do check your credit card charges don’t you?)  I glance through the charges and I notice the restaurant bill for a dinner we had was more than what I remember.  I went through my receipts for the month and pulled out the restaurant receipt.  Sure enough the charge on my statement was more than the charge on my receipt.

Here’s what happened:

When I paid the bill I left a cash tip.  On the receipt I crossed out the tip section.  Somehow, someone at the restaurant was still able to charge my account more that they should have.

I immediately called up American Express and explained my situation.  They suspended the entire charge while they investigated it on their end.  At least I wouldn’t have to pay it as they figured it out.

About a month later I received a letter from American Express summarizing their findings.  They re-iterated that they suspended the charge as they investigated.  Then they contacted the restaurant to get copies of their records.  In the letter they included a copy of the original receipt which showed that I crossed out the tip portion.

American Express took the extra tip charge off of my statement.  I would only be responsible for the amount I should have been charged.  Yes!!

I don’t want to say I couldn’t dispute the charge if I didn’t have the receipt. I still could have called Amex and asked them about it.  But then I might have let it go since I wouldn’t have known for sure.  See, the tip amount wasn’t that much compared to the statement in total.

But by having the receipt to check against my statement I was able to find the fraudulent charge and dispute it!

Always keep your credit card receipts! At least until you can reconcile them against your credit card statement.

Keeping track of your receipts is easy so there should be no excuse not to.

Here are some ways you can keep track of your receipts:

  • Keep an envelope and put your receipt in it.  Yup, told you it was easy!
  • Snap a photo of the receipt with your cell phone.
  • Use a service like Evernote to store a copy for you (again with a cell phone photo).
  • If you have a scanner take a scan and save it to PDF (this is great for tax receipts too).

Make sure you keep those receipts!  It can save you from a fraudulent credit card charge!

Creative Commons License photo credit: jenn_jenn

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Published or updated April 13, 2013.


  1. It’s very important that you keep receipts, especially from restaurants. They do not tell the credit card company the actual amount until after you are gone. They wait because they want to see how much you are going to tip. If a server becomes greedy, they can have their way with your credit card. That’s why I always double check each charge at a restaurant. Even if you meant to leave a tip on the card that doesn’t mean that the server can change the amount!

    Adam’s last blog post..Have Jobs Become Disposable?

  2. Thanks for sharing this. Too bad there are such dishonest people out there. I hope that you contacted the restaurant during and after the dispute to let them know what happened. They need to know about such things because they’ll be able to note complaints that come in that may track back to a certain employee.

    Money Beagle’s last blog post..There Is Nothing Like Great Friends And Family

    • Honestly, we wrote the place off. The receipt has the servers name so the restaurant knows who to go after (though I should have pursued it further, I was just happy to be done with it).

  3. I never keep my CC receipts and no this is a bad habit to get into for that exact reason. What would happen if you didn’t have the receipt?

    • I still could have called Amex to dispute it and they would have done their due diligence. For me though, I might not have bothered if I didn’t have proof in from of me. Having the receipt gave me the ammo to call Amex and complain.

  4. That happened to me at a pub once. I was outraged. I went in and spoke with the manager, who then gave me a gift card for the restaurant. Makes me think twice about using my card at restaurants. Maybe it would be best to use cash only.

    It’s a shame people are dishonest.

    Kacie’s last blog post..Break your big goal into chunks

    • The manager did the right thing. Cash only is an option but not always best. It’s tough finding an ATM sometimes to make sure we can cover the meal.

  5. TStrump says:

    I’m very particular when it comes to my receipts.
    I have en envelope for each year I’ve ever had a credit card and can access them fairly easily.
    I also enter my receipts onto my financial software right away so that when I get my statement, I can quickly reconcile and note any discrepancies.

    TStrump’s last blog post..Maximizing Your Personal Revenue

  6. Thanks for the reminder to keep all receipts. The only fraudulent charge I ever had on a credit card was not traceable to a specific source. AMEX called ME because someone charged thousands of dollars using my card number when I normally didn’t charge more than $100 – and the charges were overseas.

    Thankfully, it was taken care of ASAP.

    Carla’s last blog post..Before and After (pictures)

    • I have to say Amex did a great job taking care of my situation. Sounds like they were looking out for you too.

  7. Tom @ elusivewealth says:

    I also do not keep most receipts (except for those important for taxes). I have heard of restaurant employees swiping the card information, but this is pretty sneaky. I suspect that the person that did this gets many of these transactions through without anyone noticing.

    I had a situation similar to Carla’s where the charges were overseas. In my case the card issuer was Capital One and they also took care of it quickly by freezing the account, eliminating the charges, and sending us a new card.

    Tom @ elusivewealth’s last blog post..Finding Credit Card Fraud

    • Imagine how many small transactions a person could get away with! Scary. Glad your situation was taken care of quickly.

  8. Isn’t that interesting! I’ve had that happen, too–where a server changed the amount I entered for a tip. I now keep a copy of every restaurant receipt, write down the amount I left as a tip, and write down the total. When I leave cash on the table, I actually write on the restaurant’s bill “tip left in cash.”

    I drop all my receipts into a file folder, hold them for about six months, and then have a little bonfire in the fireplace. This habit has paid off more than once!

    Funny about Money’s last blog post..Get those estimates!

  9. threadbndr says:

    I had three charges go through when I was on vacation. Someone at the hotel or resturaunt scammed my number, then someone several states away ran up $1500 in charges in three different transactions. Luckily, my credit union figured out it was unlikely that I was sleeping in a hotel room in Memphis TN and shopping in Houston TX at the same time and froze my card and called my cell.

    They got it straightened out, but I had to call them with every charge and approve it until I got back to town and they could cancel and re-issue my card. I doubt a big national bank would have 1) noticed and 2) worked with me to let me finish my trip and still keep only valid charges going through.

  10. Don’t you think you may be a bit over-reacting? Keep ALL receipts? Come’on…give me a break my friend. What a pain for the rare chance someone charges you more then agreed upon. You can call any credit card company and say that charge does not seem right, investigate the amount. This can be done with no receipt and save all the time of having to store /sort those receipts 😛

  11. Just a few weeks ago, I noticed that a restaurant that I went to overcharged me by $3.00. I included a tip on my card and the server still overcharged me. Fortunately, I keep my receipts and I indicate how much tip I was going to give on my copy of the receipt, so I called my bank and disputed that transaction. Granted, it was only $3.00, but that was $3.00 that he doesn’t deserve to take from me just like that. The bank took that amount off from my statement and considered the case closed. I could have easily disputed without a receipt, but as you said, having it when you need it does help you strengthen your case and confidence.

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