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How to Recover From a Stolen Credit Card

Posted By Jim On 07/20/2010 @ 12:06 pm In Personal Finance | 16 Comments

If you’ve prepared for losing your wallet [3], recovering from losing just one credit card is actually quite simple. What’s not as simple is discovering when you’ve actually lost a single card. In our current age of electronic commerce, it’s very easy to “lose” your credit card without actually losing the card. Card skimmers can steal your credit card’s data without you ever knowing it. Ecommerce companies, with lax data security, can experience data breaches that result in your credit card data being stolen.

While credit card companies are becoming very savvy in detecting fraud, as they are on the hook for most of it, they can’t catch everything.

Preparing for a Lost Card

If you’ve done everything I recommended in preparing for a lost wallet, you already have a copy of your card along with the customer service number on the back. That’s step one. Step two is only use credit cards that offer $0 fraud liability. By law, the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) limits your maximum liability for unauthorized use of your credit card to $50. Many credit cards will cover the remaining $50 in what they call $0 fraud liability. If the loss involves the credit card number but not the card itself, as in with a data breach or some other such case, then you are not liable whatsoever for the charges.

Review Your Credit Card Statements

Just recently there was a news story about a $10 million credit card fraud scheme that involved small sub-$10 charges [4] to stolen credit cards. The fraud detection algorithms used by credit card companies missed them for the very same reason many consumers did – the charges were simply too small and there was only one charge. It had been going on since 2006!

This highlights the importance of checking all of your statements very carefully and reporting anything that looks wrong.

After You’ve Lost The Card

Report it immediately. Once you report a card as missing, you are no longer liable for any charges made to the card, so if you suspect your card is gone, report it immediately. There is no financial cost to you for canceling a card, you just have to wait until a new one is mailed to you. Then review your statements (again) very carefully for any charges that may have appeared between when you lost the card and when you discovered you lost the card.

Recovering from a lost credit card is pretty easy, especially since you know the FCBA protects you against liability, but it’s still important to be prepared before it happens!

(Photo: thetruthabout [5])


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[2] Email: mailto:?subject=http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/recover-lost-stolen-credit-card.html

[3] prepared for losing your wallet: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/lost-wallet-recovery-plan.html

[4] $10 million credit card fraud scheme that involved small sub-$10 charges: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/06/ftc-sues-scammers/

[5] thetruthabout: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thetruthabout/4542026865/sizes/l/

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