Steps to take if your Credit Card is Lost or Stolen

With identity theft on the rise, it is important to know what to do in the unfortunate event that your credit card comes up missing.It is also important to take some safeguards to prevent it from happening. First thing you should always do is sign the back of your credit card as soon as you get it. This makes it harder for thief’s to use it. It is important to remember that your credit card can still be used even if you did in fact sign it.

Below is a list of simple steps to follow to help prevent your credit card from becoming lost or stolen:

Always know where you credit cards are.
Make sure you sign them as soon as you receive them.
Keep your personal information just that, personal.
When you use your card at the store, never leave it lying on the counter.
Always put your card away before leaving the store.
These simple steps will make it harder to lose your credit cards.

In the event that your credit card is in fact lost or stolen, the first thing you should always do is to call the credit card company that issued you the card. You need to do this as soon as you notice it missing. When you call it in lost or stolen you will most likely be asked your account number, when you noticed the card missing and the last charge you made on the card. This is so the credit card company can see if it is being used after you reported it.

After you have called the credit card company you should call the credit reporting agencies and ask them to put a “fraud Alert” on your file. There are two specific types of alerts to choose from, the first being a security freeze. Out of the two this is a more secure option. The security freeze makes it so there is no way anyone can obtain your credit information. Some fees do apply with a security/credit freeze. You will not be able to apply for credit while the freeze is in place. You will, however, be able to access your credit report. By law you are allowed 1 free annual credit report. It is a good idea to get them as often as possible to keep track of your credit.

The second less restrictive option is the basic fraud alert. While it does not prevent anyone from using your credit information, it basically puts a “note” on your file to alert the credit bureaus that there may be a possible problem with fraud linked to your account. In the event that someone tries to use your credit, you will be contacted before it is authorized. A fraud alert usually lasts about 90 days. Some states require a police report in order to put a security freeze on your credit report. Even if you are not going to put a freeze or an alert on your account, it is always a good idea to contact the authorities.

Below is the contact information for the three branches of the credit bureaus. You will have to contact them separately in order to have a freeze and/or alert put through to all three departments.

Trans Union

Make sure you follow up with the credit card agency and go over any unaccounted for charges. Most credit card companies will gladly remove the charges from your bill. You should also call your local police station and let them know that your credit card was lost. Identity theft is not a joke. Take as many safeguards as possible to protect your credit card.