6 Things to Do When Your Credit Card Is Lost or Stolen
Losing a credit card is frustrating. It’s anxiety-inducing.
Whether you’ve misplaced your card or it’s been stolen, you need to take action quickly. Following the steps below will protect you.
Here are six things to do if your credit card is lost or stolen:
1. Contact your credit card issuer.
The first step you should take when you realize your credit card is missing is to contact your issuer. Visa, Amex, Chase—it doesn’t matter who your issuer is. What matters is that you call the number on your monthly statement and let your provider know that you can’t find your credit card.
By canceling the card, you can prevent unauthorized transactions from being made. Your credit card issuer will then order you a new card with a different number.
2. Search your wallet or purse.
This may sound like overkill, but please hear us out. Even if you’ve already contacted your credit card issuer, take a moment to check your wallet or purse. Retrace your steps. It’s possible that you left your card somewhere or forgot where you put it. If you find your card, contact your credit card provider.
Your credit card issuer will cancel your new card if they haven’t already ordered it.
3. Check your account for suspicious activity.
If you haven’t found your credit card (and you’ve gone ahead and called your credit card issuer), log on to your account. Review your recent activity and check for transactions that you don’t recognize or didn’t authorize. Report them immediately. If you wait too long, you may be held liable for the payments.
In addition to checking your recent transactions, you’ll want to monitor your account over the following week.
4. Update your automatic payments.
If you have automatic payments set up with your lost or stolen card, you’ll need to update them with your new card number. Failure to do so can lead to missed payments, late fees, and a negative impact on your credit score. You wouldn’t want to lose a subscription or have an extra charge tacked onto your bill!
Make a list of all the companies or services where you have automatic payments set up, and update your billing information as soon as possible.
5. Monitor your credit reports.
Once you confirm your credit card is truly missing, you should monitor your credit reports for suspicious activity. Similar to your credit card statements, you’ll need to check your credit reports for accounts or transactions that you don’t recognize. If you see something suspicious, report it.
A reminder that you can request a free report from each of the three major credit bureaus once a year.
6. Consider identify theft prevention.
Here’s the thing: if your credit card is lost or stolen, there’s a chance your personal information has been compromised. (It’s unlikely, but it’s possible.) Consider enrolling in an identity theft protection service. This can help monitor your credit reports for you and alert you to any suspicious activity.
Identity theft protection can also help you recover if this unfortunate crime does occur. Some services offer insurance to cover the cost of identity theft—think lost wages and legal fees.
Ultimately, losing your credit card or having it stolen is stressful. Yet by taking quick action, you can minimize the damage and prevent unauthorized transactions. A little vigilance and effort can go a long way here.
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