What to do if you think your Credit Card Number has been Stolen

Credit card theft is extremely prevalent and recently an extensive credit card cloning operation was uncovered.  As a credit card holder you need to be vigilant.  If your credit card is stolen, it is likely that you will notice quite quickly.  If it is just your credit card details that are stolen to make cloned cards, it may that the credit card company notice a significant change in use of your card and notify you.  It is important to check your statement for transactions that you have not made to try and identify if a copied card is being used fraudulently.  It is important to take immediate action if you identify any discrepancies, and should include

1.     Contact credit card company.

Once you have identified that you credit card details have been stolen, you should contact your credit card provider immediately and arrange to have the card cancelled. If you do this promptly, you are generally not held liable for the fraudulent transactions and stolen money will be returned to you. The credit card provider may not be so generous if the fraud has been carried out over an extended period, as you should have identified it within a reasonable amount of time.

2.     Report to the police

As well as notifying the credit card provider, you should notify the police providing them with details of the fraudulent activities.  You should provide details of any suspicious incidents that you can remember when you used your card.  One of the common places for these thefts to occur is in restaurants, and if paying by card in a restaurant, do not allow the card out of your sight.  The transaction should take place in your presence.  It is when cards are taken to a central point away from the customer to process payments that it is most vulnerable to be cloned.  This means your credit card details are stolen and the card returned to you, so you do not realize a crime has been committed.

3.     Destroy original card

Once you have arranged for the credit card to be cancelled, make sure that you destroy the card to prevent anyone using it while the cancellation procedure is taking place.  The plastic used can be quite strong, so it is probably best to cut the card using a pair of scissors.  You can fold the card back and forth until it becomes soft enough to tear in half if you do not have any scissors to hand.

4.     Insurance

If your credit card is insured against theft and fraudulent use, make sure you contact the insurer at the earliest opportunity and provide them with full details of what has happened.  Some of these insurers will only cover losses from the point at which they have been informed, so the sooner that you do this the better.

5.     Other Actions

As a result of having had you card stolen or cloned, there are a range of administrative tasks that you will need to complete.  These do not mitigate the theft, but are needed to get your finances back in order.  Remember that you will need to do the following:

i)     Cancel any regular payments that you have set up using your card.

ii)    Up-date all your on-line accounts that have the credit card details provided as a payment method.

iii)   Make sure you order and activate your replacement credit card.

iv)   Sign your replacement card on the signature strip.

v)    Complete any claim forms that are required to reclaim any money that has been stolen.