Have you reported the loss of your stolen credit, ATM card or debit card? Luckily, I've been fortunate to have never had my wallet stolen so I haven't had to mess with it. I have had two minor cases of identity theft, and that was a nuisance in itself. This guest post is by Debbie Brown and she shares what to do when your credit card is stolen or lost.
Credit card is the most common financial accessory that people possess. Whether they are buying from stores or shopping online, credit cards are an integral part of our lifestyle. But are you aware that your credit card is like a key to unlock your account details? Yes. There are numerous scammers hovering around you to take a sneak peak into your purse or hack your card details online perhaps with a deadly Trojan!
Most credit card holders feel that they are smart enough to spot a scammer. However the fact remains that within a bat of an eyelid or might be within a click of your mouse, your credit card will be ripped off. FBI has surveyed and found out consumers have to incur a heavy loss of around $125.6 million as seen in the last year due to these swindles. During this economic turbulence, when money is scarce and people are running into debts, it is essential that you become careful. Recession has increased these fraud activities. As a result it is you who will run of money. So if you are using credit cards or ATM cards or debit cards, you must know about certain things in case your cards are stolen. Did you know that the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) offers a number of procedures for the safety of your cards?
Losing a credit card
Mostly when people loose their credit cards, either they are panic stricken or they give ample amount of scope to these scammers to steal all their finances. The result is getting into debts and resorting for a debt management plan to stabilize the situation. But why would it be so? If you loose your cards, you must report it instantly to your card issuer. You will find toll-free numbers or a round the clock customer service where you can place your grievances. At times even your homeowner’s insurance policy takes up the cause of your credit card theft.
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As placed by the federal law, you cannot be charged more than $50 for unauthorized card usage. You must make sue to report the loss of your credit card before it is used and in that case the card issuer cannot charge you anything as put by FCBA. If you just loose the card number and not the card, there are no charges for unauthorized use. This is same with your ATM card or debit card as well as put by EFTA. The best way to avoid these frauds is to keep your cards safe and handle them carefully. Never use your birthday, address, phone number or Social Security number as your PIN.
Tips to prevent credit card theft:
- Many a times people tend to divulge their account number while dealing with a company. Never do that. Always ensure that the company is reputable.
- It is also advisable not to write your account number on the outside of a postcard or an envelope.
- Make sure that you draw a line wherever there is a blank space such as on debit slips. This should be drawn above the total amount so that the amount cannot be altered.
- Never sign on a blank slip or charge.
- Keep your receipts handy and dispose off old credit cards or unused cards.
- Check your monthly statements and tally them with your receipts. If you find anything wrong, then report it without a second thought. As per FCBA and EFTA, the card issuer will start investigations regarding your matter within 60 days of the date you got your statement.
- If you are an avid user of ATM cards, check your account at regular intervals. Check your withdrawals or transfers and all the purchases you made and compare them with your current balance.
You can also opt for buying a registration service where for a yearly fee; companies will be intimidating you about your credit cards issuer about the loss of your cards. With this service you just need to make one call and report the loss of all your cards instead of making calls. Even if you do not want to use this service, you must know that you have the right to contact your card issuer as put by the FCBA and the EFTA.
For more help and information on credit card theft, contact the Federal Trade Commission. You can call them toll-free at 1-877-382-4357; TTY: 1-866-653-4261. Visit www.ftc.gov for more assistance.
This is a guest post by Debbie Brown is a financial writer and offers free advice to get out of debt. Debbie Brown has no affiliation and is not endorsed by LPL Financial.