You’ve just finished up a long day of shopping, rushing through a myriad of stores to get all your errands complete. After you’ve unloaded your packages and tuck away your receipts, you notice your credit card is gone. Worse, you can’t recall what store you were in last and aside from that, it’s been hours since you last used it.
Before you’re ever in a situation where you’ve lost your card, it’s a good idea to take preventative measures in anticipation a loss could potentially occur some day. Keep a running list of the creditor’s phone numbers with corresponding account numbers and expiration dates. You also might want to consider keeping a photo copy of all of your credit cards with this information.
What steps should you take when you discover you’ve lost your credit card?
*Call your credit card company ASAP. Under federal law you are only liable for $50 for unauthorized use of your credit card if someone manages to make some purchases before you’ve reported the card missing. If you are able to report the loss before the card is used by someone else, you are not responsible for any subsequent charges. The earlier you call the better.
*Try and recall your steps. Call the stores you visited and see if they’ve found your card or if someone turned your credit card in. If it’s been found, call your credit card company anyway and let them know. Request to be issued a new credit card to prevent any potential unauthorized access which may occur. With e-commerce so prevalent, even if you obtain your physical card, there is a possibility someone captured the account number, expiration date and security code and tucked it away for future use.
*Contact credit reporting agencies. Call Equifax, TransUnion and Experian and ask them to make a notation of a “Fraud Alert” to correspond your credit cards. If anyone tries to use your card, by contacting these agencies, it’ll help safeguard your credit rating and history.
*Write a letter. It’s always best to keep a paper trail of any communication with your credit card company. After you make the initial call, jot down the name of the person you spoke to, and then include all relevant information in a follow-up letter to your bank.
*Check your statements. When your billing statement comes in, check each item carefully to ensure the purchases on it are the ones you’ve made. If you noticed anything unusual, send a letter to your credit card company to let them know. Include the date you reported the card missing and keep a copy of this letter for your records.
Losing a credit card is stressful, but by taking proactive measures using the above steps as soon as you realize your card is missing, the less chance of any large harm being done and the sooner you’ll find relief.