What to do if your Credit Card is Lost or Stolen

My credit card is gone, and I don’t know what I did with it. I ask myself; “Now where did I put that credit card? When was the last time I used it? Did I get it back from the store clerk?” Suddenly the realization sinks in that my credit card has been lost, or stolen. What am I to do? What can you do? We use these credit and/or debit cards daily. Lost or stolen cards can be protected from other people using them.

First, contact the credit card company with the information and date that your card was lost or stolen. Have your account number handy before you call. You will find the account number on your statement. All the major companies have a toll-free number which can be accessed 24/7. They will be glad to help you.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the federal law states that the unauthorized use of your credit card is $50.00. Now, if you report the loss before the credit card is used then you won’t be responsible for any of the unauthorized transactions. But if a transaction occurs before reporting the loss, then the only amount you will be responsible for is $50.00. This is very good news, so I would make certain to notify your credit card company ASAP. Debit cards require you to report the loss immediately, and the amount of loss you will incur depends upon the reporting date.

Once the loss is reported be certain and review your statements very carefully. You want to inventory and take notice any unauthorized purchases. You may need to write a letter with all the information and the dates of the unauthorized purchases as well as the date the card was lost or stolen. In fact writing a letter would be a valuable follow-up to the situation.

My father purchased a tool from a department store. Either he didn’t pick up the card or the store clerk forgot to give it back to him. He called the department store, and reported the loss. They didn’t find it at the time he called. He called me, and I had to make all of the other phone calls. I followed all of the steps from above, then the issuer stopped all transactions, and canceled his card. The card was found at the department store, and I picked it up. The sooner you contact the credit card company the better. In his case no transactions were made, and he was relieved.

Many ways are available to assist you with lost or stolen cards. One way is to make a copy of all your credit cards along with the phone number of the company. Only carry the cards you will need for your outings because that will help reduce the risk of loss or theft. The most important aspect is to be conscious when opening up your purse, or wallet. Pay attention, and make mental notes to yourself as you give up your card, and as you return your card back into place. The best protection is preventative measures to ensure your card isn’t stolen.