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Steps to Take if You Lose Your Credit Card

If your credit card is lost, don’t panic. Federal law limits your personal liability for unauthorized charges, but the protection only begins when the loss is reported. Here's how to help minimize the potential financial damage of a stolen credit card.

Act fast and follow up

After discovering your credit card is missing or that the number was used fraudulently, you want to stop further unauthorized charges and minimize personal responsibility as soon as possible.

  • Report the loss to the bank

    Report the loss the moment you discover your card is missing. Most credit card companies have a 24-hour reporting service and toll-free numbers. Once the loss is reported, you’re not responsible for any charges incurred from that point forward. And, even if your card was used before you reported it stolen, the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) limits liability for unauthorized charges on a stolen credit card to $50. 1

  • Follow up

    After calling to notify the bank that issued your credit card, also put the notice in writing. Send an email or letter, and include your name, partial account number, date you noticed your credit card was missing, and date you reported it missing. Document the time, date, and content of conversations with company representatives.

  • Contact the credit agencies

    Notify one of the 3 major credit reporting agencies, Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax then ask for a fraud alert to be placed on your account. The agency you notify is required to share this information with the other agencies. Order your credit reports and review them closely for fraud.

  • Report the Theft to Law Enforcement

    The FDIC recommends reporting unauthorized credit card charges to the state or local police3, and to the Federal Trade Commission to help stop scams.

  • Check your account statements monthly

    If unauthorized charges show up on your credit card statement after you have already reported the stolen card, be sure to dispute the credit card charges.It is important to let the credit card company know of the billing inaccuracies. 2

  • Update auto pay

    Change any automatic billing payment to the new account number your company will provide. It’s important to act quickly once your credit card is discovered missing because thieves act quickly. Also, remember to review all your online accounts and make any changes necessary to protect your personal information. The sooner a thief is stopped, the easier it is to manage the situation.

Recommended Reading:

Protecting Your Plastic From High-Tech Criminals
Questions and Answers About Credit Card Fraud


1. http://blog.credit.com/2015/11/3-steps-to-take-when-your-credit-card-goes-missing-129849/
2. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0213-lost-or-stolen-credit-atm-and-debit-cards
3. http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/why-file-police-report-card-fraud-1282.php

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