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My Credit Card Was Stolen. What Do I Do?

It’s a terrible feeling that most of us have experienced.

We look to find our credit card in its typical spot, but the card is not there. Or maybe you notice unintentionally left your purse or wallet out in a public area. When you go back to get it, the purse or wallet is gone.

The theft or loss of a credit can be frustrating and stressful.

The good new is that most credit card companies have significant protections in place for you. You typically owe nothing for unauthorized purchases. And in the rare event where the credit card company does not have any protections in place, the government limits your liability to just $50 for credit cards. It is important to note that different rules apply to debit cards. You are only responsible for $50 worth of fraudulent charges if you report the card missing within two business days. This increases to $500 if not reported within sixty calendar days after you received your statement. Go beyond sixty calendars days, and you become responsible for all charges.

So, as soon as you notice your card missing, act. Here are some steps to take:

1. Call your credit card company ASAP. Let them know that the card is no longer in your possession. They will probably go through the card’s most recent purchases to ensure that no fraudulent activity has taken place from the time the card was stolen or lost to your phone call. The company’s phone number and your account number can be found on your past statement.

2. Close your account. You will probably need to close that particular account number and open up a new one. This renders the old card useless to whoever may have it. You will receive a new card in the mail.

3. Write down the last purchase with the stolen or lost card. Hold on to this information. It will help you in the next step.

4. Pay attention to your statement. For the next few months, check to see if any fraudulent purchases show up. Since you already identified your last purchase, fraudulent purchases should be easy to spot. If you do see unauthorized activity, immediately contact your credit card company.

It is frustrating to lose or have a credit card stolen. Fortunately, you are protected from fraudulent activity if you act quickly. The key is to act quickly. The quicker you act, the less you will need to deal with fraudulent purchases. So, if your card is stolen or lost, don’t panic—act.


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