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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

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 at a location outside of the cardholder’s home area while the cardholder still has possession of their card (counterfeiting).

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 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.

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 us at 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.