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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

  • A fraudulent transaction is one in which you did not authorize, participate in or benefit from. 
  • Someone used your debit or credit card without your knowledge or permission. 
  • You did not give your card number to the merchant or authorize anyone to perform the transactions.
  • Internet charges at sites where the cardholder has not made a purchase nor is waiting for an order.
  • You have no knowledge that your spouse or minor children made any transaction.
  • A swiped transaction at a location outside of the cardholder’s home area while the cardholder still has possession of their card (counterfeiting).
  • If your card has been lost or stolen, please contact us as soon as possible to avoid any charges from being authorized.

File a Fraud Report

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’s) assistance.

There are many reasons for transaction disputes including:

  • 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.

Before INOVA submits a dispute on your behalf, you must first try to work out the dispute with the merchant. Please keep track of any dates and conversations you have with the merchant as well as any documentation that you have sent and/or received.  These communications are important to our investigation and are required to be submitted to INOVA with the dispute form.

INOVA will submit the 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.
    • If we cannot charge back the merchant, you will not be reimbursed.

File a Dispute

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 number 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’s Member Services immediately so we can deactivate your card and issue a new one.
    • During Business Hours, contact (800) 826-5465
    • After Business Hours, contact us at (866) 438-4694
  • Close any accounts that have been compromised 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 (877-438-4338) or online at
  • Once a year, check your credit report for any suspicious activity or inaccuracies. Visit to obtain your free copy.

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