Am I responsible for a babysitter’s unauthorized iPhone purchase with my credit card?

It’s a situation no one wants to find themselves in: you’ve entrusted your babysitter with your credit card to cover the cost of lunch for your children, only to discover that they’ve taken advantage of your trust and made an unauthorized purchase. In this case, an iPhone. The question now is, are you responsible for this unauthorized purchase? The answer is not as straightforward as you might think, and depends on a variety of factors including your credit card company’s policies, local laws, and the specific circumstances of the situation.

Understanding Credit Card Fraud

Credit card fraud is a broad term that encompasses any unauthorized use of a credit card. This can range from a stranger stealing your card and making purchases, to a trusted individual, like a babysitter, using your card without your permission for personal gain. In most cases, credit card companies have policies in place to protect cardholders from fraudulent charges.

Your Liability for Unauthorized Charges

According to the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) in the United States, your liability for unauthorized charges on your credit card tops out at . However, if you report the loss before your credit card is used, you aren’t responsible for any charges you didn’t authorize. Most credit card companies go a step further and offer zero liability policies, meaning you won’t owe anything for unauthorized charges.

Reporting the Fraud

If you discover an unauthorized purchase on your credit card, the first step is to contact your credit card company. They will guide you through the process of disputing the charge and may issue you a new card. It’s also important to file a police report. While this may seem like a drastic step, especially if the perpetrator is someone you know, it’s a necessary part of the process.

Preventing Future Unauthorized Use

To prevent future unauthorized use of your credit card, consider the following steps:

  • Never share your credit card with anyone you don’t trust implicitly.
  • Monitor your credit card statements regularly for any unauthorized charges.
  • Consider using cash or a prepaid debit card for situations where you need to provide funds for someone else’s use.


In conclusion, while the situation is undoubtedly stressful and upsetting, you are not necessarily liable for the unauthorized purchase made by your babysitter. By understanding your rights and responsibilities as a credit card holder, taking the appropriate steps to report the fraud, and taking measures to prevent future unauthorized use, you can navigate this difficult situation.