Have you lost your credit card, or had it stolen? Don’t worry, this happens quite often. Perhaps your credit card fell out of your wallet, or you left it at the restaurant only to discover it’s not there upon your return. It’s not the end of the world.
There are plenty of actions you can take if you’ve lost your credit card or had it stolen. Thanks to MaxCash’s financial expert team, you’re about to know what those actions are.
Don’t Lose Your Mind Over a Lost Card
When a credit card is lost, many people tend to panic. This is normal, as credit cards are an essential everyday item that can both benefit and hinder your life. The idea of someone having your private information can be hard to swallow.
But there are safety nets set in place for such occurrences. It isn’t easy for strangers to use your card without repercussions. There exist plenty of restrictions and systems to help ensure your credit card isn’t misused.
Two of these restrictions are:
- The Location Restriction System – Credit card companies keep track of the area in which a card is normally used, and if there’s a sudden charge outside of that area, it could trigger an automatic shutdown of the card. If you’ve traveled internationally, your card may have been denied while on vacation due to this restriction.
- High Price Protection – A common tactic of credit card thieves is to use the card for smaller, less expensive purchases to test the waters before going hog-wild with larger expenses. It’s those sudden expenses that can trigger a high price protection system. If you’ve ever tried to make a very expensive purchase out of the blue with a credit card, you might have received a call from your provider to ensure the validity of the purchase.
These are only two of the many different systems that credit card providers have in place to protect your finances. But what can you do to deal with the issue yourself? Let’s take a look at some of your options in the next few sections.
Report Your Card Missing
The most important thing to do when you notice your credit card is lost or stolen, is to report it to your lender. The person you speak with will immediately place a block on the card, preventing any purchases going forward. If there are no fraudulent charges on the card, you won’t have anything to worry about. If purchases have been made though, there are different procedures.
There are two ways your card can be stolen: your numerical card information, or the actual physical card itself. By just the numbers, we mean that someone else has written down your card’s necessary information to be used online. In that case, any fraudulent charges won’t be your responsibility. Even if the physical card is lost, though, the most you’ll be held accountable for is $50, to cover the cost of the replacement.
The most dangerous and urgent situation is when a debit card is stolen. These cards, if tied to your financial accounts, can clear out all of your funds with very little standing in the thief’s way. With a debit card, speed is especially urgent, and it’s best to take extra precaution with debit cards.
There’s no special need to be concerned about making a mistake, either. Even if your card wasn’t actually stolen, and it turns out that you found it again, there’s no penalty as a result. All it takes is another call to your provider to let them know that your card has been recovered, and it will be usable once again.
Credit Report Checks
Once you’ve protected your personal accounts, your next step should be to get ahold of your annual credit reports.
You can do this by contacting the three credit report companies, which are:
On their contact pages, you’ll find a method by which you can place what’s known as a fraud alert on your credit report. This will prompt the three companies to send you a credit report immediately. Once you receive your report, go over it with a fine-tooth comb, looking for evidence of suspicious activity. Anything you find that’s out of line should be reported to prevent damage to your credit score.
Your credit reports to the three credit bureaus shouldn’t be your only ones though. There’s also a report that should be filed as soon as possible. The Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft site will walk you through the process of filing this fraud report. Once it’s filed, you’ll be able to deal with the unauthorized uses and nix any issues that came as a result. You’ll also be able to take steps to help the police catch and deal with the thief.
In the end, while a stolen credit card can end up being a big problem, so long as you take the necessary actions in response, it can be defused rather quickly. Want to learn more about identity theft and credit cards in general? Then check out MaxCash to learn more!