The aftermath of a lost or stolen credit card!

The shiny small piece of plastic in your wallet carries enormous power.  The responsibility to keep it safe is yours but the money behind it is someone else’s!  It offers you a great convenience but it comes with the danger of identity theft.  You should be smart and quick like a football player if it is lost or stolen.

If you find your credit card missing, you should immediately report it to your card issuer.  The Federal law limits your liability towards frauds on lost credit cards to $50 from the moment you report it to your card issuer.  However the story does not end there.  Taking advantage of the details on the credit card, an identity thief may damage your financial life.

Take the following precautions to protect yourself from credit card theft and fraud –

  1. You should never carry a lot of cards with you.  Take only those cards which you are likely to use.
  2. When you receive renewed cards in place of your old ones, you should cut the older cards with scissors so that nobody can find out the number or name on it.
  3. You should write down the numbers of all your credit cards on a piece of paper, with the toll-free numbers for reporting lost card.
  4. When you find that a card is missing, contact your card issuer immediately and report the fact of loss.  If you do not have credit card number with you, take out some old statement from where you can find that number.  If you do not have the phone number to report such loss, you can find it out from the Internet.
  5. Contact your local police to report the loss.  You should also tell them the precautions you have taken before contacting them.
  6. Report the loss to all the three main credit bureaus.  You should contact them individually and request for a copy of your credit report to find out is there any fraudulent account on it.  Usually credit bureaus will send you the copy free of charge.
  7. Place a fraud alert on your credit card.  This security alert will remain for 90 days and it is usually free.  It will alert the creditors for extending any credit on your name.  You can extend this alert further if you feel so.
  8. Check the credit card statement carefully after reporting the loss.  If you find any suspicious transaction, you should immediately report it to your card issuer and cancel the card.
  9. There are several agencies offering useful services when you lose your credit card.  They will inform the card issuers on your behalf.  This service is particularly useful if you lose your wallet containing several cards.  By making one phone call, you will be able to report the loss to all the concern financial institutions. The small fee they charge is worth the service.

Remember to take these simple actions very quickly in order to get the protection to your finances and your identity.