September 3, 2008
If your credt card is stolen or lost, you won’t necessarily become an identity theft victim. So don’t panic. Most credit cards are issued with a liability limit on fraudulent transactions. Typically, you’re responsible for only $50 but many cards now have a zero liability limit – meaning, you’re off the hook completely.
Here’s what to do:
- Call your credit card issuer to tell them you’re card is stolen or lost.
- Find that toll-free number to call on your credit card statement.
- Have the stolen account number closed immediately.
- Ask for a new account number and a new card to be sent to you (it can take a couple of weeks to get your new card).
- The CSR you talk to will be able to see all new charges right away and tell you about them.
- Carefuly watch your credit card statement for charges that you didn’t make.
- If you can go online to do that, it’s much faster to find the bad charges.
- If you find any charges that aren’t yours, call that 800 number again and tell them.
That’s pretty much it.
Do this even if you have a credit card that you can’t find. It’s probably just lost and not stolen, but this is an easy thing to do to be sure you don’t have any problems. [I’ve had to do this myself when I couldn’t find a card – no idea where it went!]
If you have any recurring charges being made to your credit card, remember to change them to your new account number.
Keep in mind that this is for a credit card not your debit or ATM card. Your credit card gives you a lot more protection from fraud than your debit card because you’re dealing with money that’s not yours. Your debit card pulls money directly from your bank account, so it’s harder to repair the damages.
Now if your wallet was stolen and someone has your driver’s license and possibly your social security card, you have a big problem and you’ll have to go onto full-scale alert for identity theft. Do a security freeze or fraud alert right away. Then order your credit reports every month or two to watch for accounts you didn’t open. You’ll need to monitor this for years because your info is now in the hands of thieves.