Lost or stolen credit card is the worst fear of any credit card holder, and the surge of identity theft in recent years makes all of us even more aware of this danger.
According to the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Treasury, the most important thing to do when you realize that your credit card is lost or stolen, is to immediately contact your credit card provider in order to close the account in question.
It is very important that you keep your credit card company’s 24 h access number in several different places, so that you would be able to make this phone call immediately when your card goes missing. It will prevent any unauthorized transactions on it that could cost you $50. Some credit card companies offer liability protection in case of such incident, but if your credit card company doesn’t offer it, then you should get insurance especially if you have large credit limits on your card.
Credit card theft or loss can really happen to anyone, so it is of the utmost importance that you prepare for it by taking as many preventative steps as possible. Never carry all your credit cards in your wallet. Keep the cards you don’t use at the time in a safe place and always shred all the payed statements along with receipts for them. It is also good not to have too many credit cards, as it significantly increases the chances of them being lost or stolen.
Make it your habit to monitor daily all the activities on your accounts. Most credit card companies offer very convenient on-line monitoring, so you don’t have to wait for the next bill in order to see what is happening on your accounts. Never share your passwords with anyone and change them often. Make sure that you always know where each one of your credit cards is.
After you report missing credit card, send a follow up letter to your credit card company to have a physical proof of you reporting the event. It will prevent you from being charged for fraudulent uses of your card. Fast reporting to your credit card provider is the most important action you must take.
You also need to monitor any activities on other credit card accounts you have, as thieves might be able to use your name and access information to get your other credit cards’ information.
It is also possible that someone might steal only your credit card number without you losing a physical card. This often happens during an on-line shopping. You can prevent electronic theft by shopping only on the secure sites. They usually have the lock icon on the right side of the address bar. For on-line shopping use credit cards with the lowest credit limit possible.
Your financial safety truly depends on how well you get prepared for credit card theft. And if you do it well, it doesn’t have to be a nightmare scenario. The worst hit by credit card theft are individuals who did not do it, but you are obviously not one of them.