Most of us, at some time or another, lose items. It may be simply that the item has been misplaced or it could be that it has been stolen. With the introduction of Chip and Pin as a method of payment many customers are accidentally leaving their credit cards in the shops. Credit cards are not intrinsically, or sentimentally, valuable but the loss or theft of them can end up costing you a small fortune, and plenty of inconvenience.
INFORM YOUR CREDIT CARD COMPANY
This is the first task and needs to be carried out immediately. Usually there is a ‘Stolen cards’ hot-line available, which is in operation 24/7, for reporting the theft or loss of a credit card. This number is usually shown on your statements. If your credit card is a bank one, your Bank should also be able to help.
This simple first step can help prevent being able to spend vast amounts on your credit card. Always remember that you may be liable for a small amount of any money that a thief may spend on your credit card, and so it is vital that you act quickly.
NOTIFY THE POLICE
Unless you notify the police how does your credit card company know that it’s not just you cheating them and pretending that your card has been stolen?. You still could be, but to show that you are not you must follow procedures.
CONTACT THE INSURANCE COMPANY, IF APPROPRIATE
I use a firm called Sentinel to cover all my credit cards against theft. They have special phone numbers, with 24/7 cover again, which are quick and easy to use. It is part of my agreement though that I inform them of any losses or thefts as soon as possible.
IDENTIFY WHAT IS MISSING
Make sure that nothing else was stolen along with your credit card, such as letters or other cards, maybe, that you don’t use that often. You will still need to notify these card suppliers. Many of us, these days, swap our credit cards on a regular basis but never actually cancel or destroy the old cards.
Consider the implications to you of a possible identity theft. If a thief has your credit card in his or her possession they will also have your signature and name. If anything-else was stolen such as a utility bill, or even a letter, then the thief will also have your address and other personal details. If the thief knows you personally, or stole from your home, he will obviously know your address already. All this personal information is like gold-dust to an identity thief.
When my credit card was stolen, many moons ago, identity theft had not been heard of. However, nowadays, that may be your prime worry and concern. As such ask the police, or your credit company, for advice on what you can do about such issues as identity theft, after such a theft. There may be some procedures which you can follow as a damage limitations exercise.