What to Do if Your Credit Card is Lost or Stolen
Credit card issuers are rapidly increasing in number. Retailers and companies are launching their own line of credit cards for every possible market out there. Even retail warehouse clubs have started offering financial assistance to their consumers, with much leniency. With the rolling abundance and accessibility of credit, people must also be reminded of ways to secure and protect it.
Your credit card is one of the most valuable possessions that you own. A considerable percentage of your credit standing is determined through your credit card transactions, activities and payments. When you lose your credit card, the first things you’ll likely worry about are the unauthorized charges that you’ll be accountable for. A lot of people dispute the charges, especially when these fraudulent transactions appear on their credit reports. But remember, liability for these charges can be prevented if you report your credit card lost or stolen, as soon as you realize it. Here is your guide on what to do if your credit card is lost or stolen.
How to Avoid Liabilities on a Lost or Stolen Card
The first thing that you must do is to notify your credit card issuer about the incident. With your creditor informed, your account will be placed on alert. Charges that post to your account will be flagged as fraudulent. The worst thing that could happen is you could be accountable for up to $50 if someone uses your credit card before you’ve reported it lost or stolen.
However, there are cases wherein people do not realize that they have lost their credit card for days, even weeks. This might present a distressing problem since it will be difficult to dispute the unauthorized charges. Banks and credit card issuers repeatedly remind consumers to be vigilant and report lost credit cards as soon as possible to avoid further hassle.
Once you’ve lost your credit card, you will never be sure if it will fall into unsafe hands. Because of the increasing incidences of credit card theft, issuers have implemented maximum security measures for its consumers. Aside from the signature bar located at the back of the card, most credit cards now have photos for identification purposes. However, these methods for security are still not enough. Issuers have also asked their consumers to put a security code on their accounts to emphasize safety.
Once you’ve advised your issuer about your lost credit card, it is best to send a follow-up letter to underline the report. Send your letter through certified mail and ask for a return receipt. Make sure to enclose your complete account details with the date and time when you’ve noticed your credit card was missing. This confirms that you reported the incident.
Another way to maximize credit card protection is by signing up for an insurance policy that covers liability for credit card loss or theft.
Most of the time, credit card thieves prefer online transactions. They find it easier and more convenient to commit fraud over the Internet. As the World Wide Web became the biggest virtual store where everything can be peddled, thieves can virtually purchase anything that they can ever think of at your expense. Thieves can effortlessly transact online with just the information that they can find on your credit card. Aside from this, online swindlers have come up with different methods to defraud unassuming consumers. Out of control online scams like the theft of personal information for unauthorized credit transactions have also become common.
Banks and credit card issuers have recognized this disturbing trend. To appease consumers, the government has mandated that account holders who have reported their credit card lost or stolen not be liable for unauthorized online transactions. This also applies for phone transactions and purchases. Posted online charges and phone transactions for a lost credit card made after their report will be automatically written off. However, keep in mind that while your immediate liability may be limited, the damage that may be caused to your credit rating due to identity theft and the expenses that may be incurred clearing it up is another story.
Since the importance of credit card protection can’t be reinforced enough, it is also best to keep track of all your credit card transactions. Always check your statement of accounts and dispose of all paper billing statements properly. Banks and credit card issuers have presented trouble-free ways to set up online accounts for its clients. It provides consumers’ a 24-hour access to their credit card transactions, payments and activities. Currently, technology plays a major role in detecting fraud and unauthorized credit card activities.
Protection of every consumer’s credit has become a priority. The government has implemented acts and laws that look after its citizens from being victimized by fraud. With these regulations put into action by federal law, liability for unauthorized credit card charges have removed some of the burdens of theft from the consumer. Alertness and caution is the most effective approach to make sure that your credit is not compromised and damaged.