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Fraud Vs Dispute: Addressing Unexpected Charges On Your Account
Article Categories: Articles
Posted on Tuesday, August 22, 2023
dispute fraud western state bank kansas

As the popularity of online shopping and cash-free payments continues to increase, you may be concerned about the potential risks of debit card fraud. Financial institutions almost always have processes in place to help customers with charge disputes or cases of fraud. But what is the difference between a dispute and a true case of fraud? And how can you know if your funds will be reimbursed?

Dispute and fraud cases are scenarios where an individual finds charges on their account that they feel are inaccurate. This can include situations in which you realized a company has double-billed you on an online payment, or when you find purchases on your account that you are completely unfamiliar with.

At Western State Bank, the way we handle these cases depends on the situation. In this blog, we’re outlining the differences between fraud and a dispute, explaining when each situation is eligible for reimbursement, and advising how you can avoid both cases and protect your funds.  

Dispute Vs. Fraud: What’s the Difference?

The main difference between a dispute and fraud case depends on who made the purchase. A transaction that you personally make on your account but feel that you have been wrongfully charged for is a dispute. Any charge on your account that was made by someone who is not an account holder or was not granted access to use your funds is a fraud case. Here are some examples of each case:


  • You were charged twice for one item while online shopping.
  • You paid for an item or service but never received it.
  • You continue to receive monthly charges for a subscription service even after you cancel your membership.
  • After purchasing an item you saw on an advertisement, you notice that the product is different from what was advertised and are not happy with the purchase.

Because all of these transactions were willingly made on your behalf, you will need to contact the merchant to resolve the charges.


  • When logging into online banking, you notice an unfamiliar charge on your account.
  • You find out someone has access to your card information and have been using this information to purchase items from your account.
  • You lost your debit card and notice that there have been new purchases on the card since you lost it, concluding that someone has stolen the card and is using it.
  • A person with access to your personal information uses your identity to withdrawal or transfer funds without your permission.

Since these transactions were made without your consent and you are not responsible for these purchases, banks will elect to reimburse these funds while an investigation is conducted.

How to prevent fraud and dispute cases:

  • Monitor your transactions using Online or Mobile Banking to catch fraudulent transactions early, and carefully review your bank statements for any errors or unauthorized transactions.
  • Utilize a card-monitoring app, such as Western State Bank’s Card Controls. Western State Bank mobile app users have the ability to control their own debit cards and set alerts for specific transactions. They can also disable their cards when fraud is suspected or if the card is lost or stolen. Learn more about Card Controls.
  • Be cautious of who you trust with your private information.
  • Use discretion when buying from online sites to prevent scams, false advertisements, and money schemes.
  • Keep your debit card in a safe, secure location at all times. Your transactions are directly tied to your bank accounts.
  • Keep your pin number a secret. Banks never ask for your pin number when processing transactions; be sure not to share it with anyone.
  • Keep private documents in a safe, protected location. This includes social security cards, passports, birth certificates, IRS documents, bank cards, and bank statements.
  • Shred all past bank statements before throwing them away. We highly recommend signing up for eStatements to prevent your paper statement from getting into the wrong hands. Through eStatements, you’ll receive a monthly email alerting you that your statement is ready to view. Then you’ll log into online banking to view your statement. Learn how to enroll in Western State Bank’s eStatements today.
  • When using the ATM, take note of who is around you. Then verify the amount you’re withdrawing, take your card, and make sure the transaction has cleared and the screen has reset before you leave.
  • Be cautious of card skimmers at gas pumps. Check the card slot for tampering, and look for small holes where cameras may be hidden above the pin pad. If possible, use a contact-free method like Apple Pay or Samsung Pay instead of swiping the magnetic strip on the card.
  • Read user agreements thoroughly to prevent repeat charges after subscriptions.

What to do if you suspect fraud on your account:

Each bank has its own internal process for handling fraud and dispute cases.

If Western State Bank detects fraud on your account, you will receive a notification and your card will be temporarily restricted until further information is provided. If the transactions on the account were not authorized by you or anyone else on your account, then a new card is ordered and the current card is permanently restricted. Depending on how much access the fraudulent user has gained to your account, it may be necessary to create a new account.

Steps to take if you detect fraud on your account:
  • If you're a Card Controls user: Open your Western State Bank mobile app and disable the affected card immediately.
  • If you have not yet enabled Card Controls, contact us so we can restrict your card immediately. After restricting your card, we will review your transaction history to identify any charges that were made on your account by someone other than you (or an authorized account holder) will be reimbursed. Western State Bank offers a temporary debit card for immediate use while your permanent replacement card is in transit.
  • If you detect fraud outside of Western State Bank’s business hours, we advise you to fill out our online Debit Card Fraud Claim Form.
  • If the case is severe, authorities may be contacted to ensure that funds are fully reimbursed for fraudulent transactions.

In regards to dispute and fraud cases, we at Western State Bank want to provide the utmost security for our customers. We guarantee that your money is secure, and in the event that someone gains access to your account, we will reimburse stolen funds. 

With technology constantly changing, new methods for obtaining account information from fraudulent users arise. Ever-changing technology is something that will always require adaptations to prevent; however, Western State Bank is committed to always protecting your funds throughout changing technologies. Cases of fraud and disputes can happen to anyone; therefore, it is important to identify the signs of suspicious activity, monitor your account, and bank with people you can trust.

Read more about Identity Theft and Fraud Protection. Contact us for additional information. 
Article Categories: Articles