Credit Card FAQ

What Should I do if my Card is lost or Stolen?

20 December 2010 by CreditCardsCo™

While many things or situations can lead to high stress levels, a lost or stolen credit card is definitely a priority among such things. But with a little know-how and precaution, taking care of such eventualities need not lead to tense moments. While losing a credit card can be quite frightening, it is definitely not an event that should be the cause of a nervous breakdown.

The first thing that everybody needs to know is that a credit card is object that can be replaced and quite easily at that. If the lost or stolen credit card is reported to the proper authorities immediately, there is little harm done and the situation can easily be controlled.

Reporting a Stolen or Lost Credit Card

The first step is the easiest to remember and do. When a credit card is stolen or missing, call up the credit card issuer and report it. Most credit card issuers are well equipped to handle such situations. It is important to note that you should make this call as soon as you know about the loss.

Contact the customer service number which is located on any billing statement of the credit card or alternatively if you can access the credit card account online, you should be able to report the credit card status online too. Ensure that you have the following information handy when you report the loss of the credit card:

  • your credit card account number
  • the date on which the credit card was stolen or lost
  • the amount spent on the last purchase
  • the date of the last purchase

The second step is to inform the credit card company in writing. It is always good to have a proof of reporting the credit card lost or stolen with you, so make sure that you save a copy of the written letter in your files. Send the letter to the credit card company via certified mail and request a return receipt. Also ensure that you include all the above mentioned details in the letter.

Dealing With Any Unauthorized Charges

Typically the first worry when a credit card is lost or stolen is whether anybody else will use it to run up charges. It will help you to know that under the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) you are protected against any fraudulent or unauthorized charges made on your credit card.

When a credit card is reported as stolen or lost, the Federal Law ensures that the cardholder is not held accountable for the charges on the card made beyond the date and time of the report. If there are any unauthorized charges made before you report the credit card as stolen or lost, you are held accountable to a preset limit of $50.

If the charges are made after the report has been filed, you have no liability whatsoever. To ensure that you do not have to pay the $50 charge, it is important that you report the credit card status as soon as you know about the theft or if the credit card is missing.

Another good idea is to scrutinize your billing statement very carefully and ensure that there are no charges which you have not authorized. If you come across such charges it is important to inform the credit card issuer at once and file a dispute. Also ensure that you do so in writing so that you can maintain it in your records.

How to Prevent Any Future Loss

Keep your credit card under your watchful eye. Always know where your card is at any point in time. If you happen to own more than two credit cards, leave them in a secure location in your house and carry only the credit cards that you need.

Never keep a credit card in your pocket. It can slip out easily. Always ensure that the credit card is secured in the sleeve in your billfold or wallet. If the sleeve is damaged, it would be wise to replace the wallet or billfold entirely.

It is important to know then and there if your credit card is lost or stolen. Reporting the same will get you a new card soon and a peace of mind knowing that you have taken all the necessary steps to prevent any abuse.

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