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There is nothing more panic-inducing than looking in your wallet for your credit card, only to discover it is missing. Your first thought is to protect yourself and your family from identity theft and do everything you can to reduce the chances of fraudulent charges.
However, with the stress of this situation potentially causing momentary rash decisions, it’s essential you take some time to breathe and think rationally.
By following these simple steps, you’ll be able to reduce the risk of any criminal activity and cover every basis to mitigate the financial and emotional repercussions of a lost credit card.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU LOSE YOUR CREDIT CARD
Retrace Your Steps
When stress and panic set in, it can be extremely easy to forget about the most obvious step: retracing your steps. Instead of running around in a frenzy, take a minute to go back to the last place you recall using your credit card.
If you have retraced your steps and there is still no sign of your card, many credit card companies have a mobile app that may allow you to lock your card until you either find it or alert your credit card company.
Locking your card provides you with immediate relief, knowing that no one can access your funds while you search for it. If you find your card before the time comes to take the situation more seriously, double-check your balance for unauthorized transactions that may have taken place while it was missing.
Call Your Credit Card Issuer
Once you’ve determined your card is nowhere to be found and it is locked via your app, immediately contact your credit card issuer and report the card either missing or stolen. Your credit card issuer’s contact details can be found on your statement or the issuer’s website.
The sooner you make a missing card report, the better. This is because the longer you leave it, the more likely you could be financially responsible for any potential losses. Once your credit card issuer is made aware that your card is not in your possession, your legal status will change, making you eligible for any refunds from future transactions.
Note that the majority of credit card companies have 24-hour helplines for emergencies such as this.
Be Prepared to Provide Information
When you report your card missing or stolen, the first thing your credit card issuer will do is confirm your identity. You will be asked to provide your name and address as well as your Social Security Number (SSN).
You will also be asked when your card was stolen or lost, as well as the date, time, and location you made your last transaction. Once they have taken you through this process, your issuer may look at any recent transactions with you to see if any of them are suspicious. Your issuer will then cancel your account and send you a new credit card with a new account number.
If you report your card as missing or stolen before it is used, you won’t be held accountable for the charges. You also have zero liability if your credit card number was stolen, but not your physical card. However, if the credit card is used and you report it as missing within 60 days, the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) will limit your liability to $50.
Check with your credit card issuer to find out whether they have Zero-Fraud Liability Protection. This policy ensures that you are not held responsible for purchases made on your card if you report the card as missing within a set timeframe.
Follow Up the Loss and Keep a Paper Trail
Even after you’ve reported your credit card loss, it’s still crucial that you follow the case up as well as making records. This is in case you ever need to present the event to an insurance company, or in the worst-case scenario, file a police report; you have all the information readily available. These details can often be the difference between a successful insurance claim and one that doesn’t go your way.
With this in mind, you should send an email or letter to your credit card issuer, including the following information:
- Your account number.
- The time and date your card was lost.
- How and when you made a report of the loss to your credit card issuer.
Once you’ve followed up on the case and sent the letter to your credit card issuer, make a copy and keep it for yourself for future reference.
Keep Checking Your Statement
After losing your credit card and once you’ve reported it missing, it is imperative that you keep checking your credit card statement. Regularly reviewing your statement will immediately alert you if anything seems fraudulent or suspicious, allowing you to contact your credit card company when you notice the criminal activity.
Prevent a Future Loss
Once you’ve gone through the lost credit card steps, one thing you can do is take actions to prevent it from happening again. Take actions such as:
- Be Aware of Your Card Locations at All Times. It’s a good idea to carry the specific credit cards you need and leave the others at home in a safe and secure place. You should also make a habit of regularly checking that all your credit cards are present.
- Keep Your Card Secure. You are more likely to lose your credit cards if you keep them loose in your pocket. Keep your credit cards in a zippered wallet with slots for your cards. You can also prevent digital credit card theft by using a metal-covered wallet that protects against RFID chip readers.
- Create a Contact List. In the event of a credit card loss, create a list of all your credit card issuer names and numbers. Store it in a safe and accessible place so that you can easily reach it if you lose your card in the future. This enables you to take action quickly and prevent the situation from worsening.
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Protect Your Finances
If someone gets their hands on your credit card after it is lost, you could be responsible for thousands of dollars in unauthorized charges. Taking quick action, calling your credit card issuer, and putting a lock on your account can prevent the situation from worsening and potentially affecting your credit score.
Implementing preemptive protection for your credit cards, including purchasing a high-quality wallet and RFID blocker can help you to avoid losing your card in the first place. Monitoring your accounts and credit reports can also ensure that you catch any suspicious activity before it becomes a bigger problem.
You can also get a protection plan for it to secure you from these unfortunate situations. We recommend you to read our review on Lifelock.
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