5 Steps To Take When Your Credit Card Is Stolen

by Connie Mei · 3 comments

Your credit card getting in the wrong hands can spell big trouble. When your card is stolen, a complete stranger essentially has the power to put you in financial ruin with a few swipes of the card. It’s a very scary situation to be in but one that is all too common.

I was the victim of a stolen credit card once. I had picked up food at a small restaurant in my neighborhood and left my card there without noticing. I didn’t realize my card was missing until a couple days later while I was at a store trying to buy something else. I didn’t think it was a big deal. I would just report it lost and request a new card. To my dismay, I was already too late. Someone had stolen my card and gone on a shopping spree. They even filled up at a gas station.

I was angry and upset, as anyone would be when something personal is stolen from them. If you find yourself in a similar situation, what you do next is critical to your financial health going forward. You might not be able to get your card back but you can help protect your credit and finances. Here are five steps you should take if your credit card is stolen:

Contact Your Credit Card Company Immediately

The obvious first step is to call your credit card company immediately and report this as soon as you realize that the credit card is missing. This way, you’re guaranteed not to be held responsible for any unauthorized charges after that point. Count yourself lucky if your card hasn’t gotten in the wrong hands yet, but your credit card company will walk through recent charges with you in case you didn’t make them yourself.

Review Your Credit Card Statement

You should thoroughly review your credit card statement, especially recent charges. Nowadays, it’s even better if you log into your online account and look at the transaction history including pending charges. Make sure you personally authorized each and every single one. If you haven’t, let the representative at the credit card company know. The earlier you do this, the higher the chance that they will be willing to remove the charge depending on the nature of it.

Take a look at the transaction history of your other cards too. It may be rare but it’s possible other cards are somehow compromised too. It doesn’t take that much time, so take the time to at least look briefly to spot any anomalies.

Place a Fraud Alert on Your Credit Report

You should also want to reach out to the three national credit reporting companies and ask for a fraud alert to be placed on your credit report. This will make it very difficult for anyone to open a new account in your name. The three reporting companies are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Check Your Credit Report

Get a copy of your credit report while you are speaking to one of these three credit reporting companies. You are entitled to one free report from each agency, which you can get from AnnualCreditReport.com. Review the details carefully to see if there are any unauthorized account openings or changes.

Stay Alert and Be Vigilant

With the steps above, you’re putting yourself in a safer and better position if your credit card is stolen. It’s important, however, to stay alert and be vigilant. A lost credit card can spiral out of control very quickly if you don’t act swiftly. Even after you’ve taken the necessary steps to fix the situation, you should always monitor your accounts regularly just to be safe.

Having your card stolen is an unfortunate situation, but don’t make the situation worst by being lazy. Have you ever had your cards stolen? What did you do?

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  • Stella Chiu says:

    Thanks for the reminder. I agree the important of checking the statement because I did able to spot one charge that was not from me few months ago. I reported that immediately. got refund, and a new card.
    I also want to address the important of personal responsibility of where your card is every minute 24/7. It is better you can spot that the card is missing the minute it is not in your purse than a few days latter. Guard your card with all your ability.
    Thanks again for your post. – Stella

  • Dewald Swart says:

    Credit card fraud is really big in our country. Thank you for sharing some great tips to help keep us safe.

  • Bert says:

    My credit union has a free service where you record all your plastic on their form. If you loose your wallet, you call their 800#, and they do the rest by notifying all the issuers immediately.

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