Discovering that your credit card or credit card number has been stolen is certainly one of lifes less than pleasant experiences. Fortunately, even if this does happen to you, these five simple steps can ensure that you are protected.
# 1: Call the Credit Card Company
Whether your credit card was issued by a bank, a corporation or a credit union, your first step upon discovering that it has been stolen should be to contact that company. If only your credit card number was stolen, you will be able to find the number to contact the issuing company on the back of the card. If the card itself was stolen, you can find the contact number on the companys official site or on your most recent bill. Alert the company that your card was stolen so that they can cancel the old card and send you a new one. If your stolen card was used to make any fraudulent purchases, provide the details on each purchase to the company as well to ensure that your money is properly refunded. In some cases, you may be asked to sign and submit a written report on these fraudulent purchases for documentation purposes.
# 2: Change All Login Details
Your next priority should be to update all sensitive data related to your credit card, including PIN numbers, login details for online access and the like. Of course, the fact that your credit card was stolen does not necessarily mean that this other related data is compromised as well. However, it is better to be safe than sorry, so change all of it as soon as possible.
# 3: Update Bills
Replacing your stolen card and updating all login information related to the card means that any automatic payments you have set up to be automatically drawn from the card will no longer work. Correcting this issue may be as simple as logging on to each companys website to update your payment information. In some cases, however, you might need to actually call or write the company to make the switch. The specific details of this process will depend on how each particular company handles its automatic billing; regardless, your main priority should simply be ensuring that you do not get hit with any late payment fees due to your card being stolen.
# 4: Call a Credit Bureau
Once the immediate priorities related to your card itself and the bills connected to it have been dealt with, you should contact one of the three main credit monitoring bureaus to file an Initial Fraud Alert to ensure that your credit score is not dropped due to actions taken by the thief. TransUnion can be reached at 800-680-7289, Equifax can be reached at 888-766-0008 and Experian can be reached at 888-397-3742. Which of the three you call makes little difference, since the other two will be notified of any actions you take with the third.
# 5: Check for Any Further Issues
Most of the time, the first four steps will be all that are necessary to resolve the issue when your credit card is stolen. As a precaution, however, continue to closely monitor your monthly statement, as well as your real-time online activity report, to ensure that no further fraudulent activity takes place. If you notice any issues, contact your card company again to resolve them.
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