How To Minimize The Damage If Your Credit Card Is Stolen

Sunday, February 12th, 2012
Updated: February 12th, 2012
The content is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.

The news is rife with reports of stolen credit cards and identity theft rings these days. While that shouldn’t make you panic, it should inspire you to make a plan of attack of what to do should you ever discover that your card is missing.

Pick Up The Phone

The very first thing you need to do upon realizing that your card’s gone missing is contact the credit union or bank that issued your card. You can go online to find the telephone number. Speak to a customer service representative and explain the circumstances – do you know for certain your card was stolen? Is it lost? How long has it been since you last used it? They will ask you a variety of questions to help recognize whether or not any unauthorized purchases have been made to your account. Based upon you answers, they will put a freeze on the missing card and issue you a new one.

While you are on the phone, be sure that you change any passwords or PIN numbers you have attached to the account. Once you have completed your call, go ahead and notify any companies that you have automatic payments set up to be funded with that particular card. It’s important to make a note of all phone call you make to your card issuer regarding your stolen card, as well as hang on to any other correspondence – letters and emails – until the situation is completely resolved. That information will assist you in filing a police report or other claim.

If other items are missing as well such as your Social Security Card, bank card or driver’s license as is likely the case if your wallet or purse was stolen, there are even more precautions you can take against being the victim of fraud.

 Contact All Three Credit Bureaus

Contact credit scoring bureaus Experian, Equifax and TransUnion by phone or online and submit a request to have an Initial Fraud Alert placed upon your credit file if you fear that you are very likely to fall victim to identity thieves. An Initial Fraud Alert will last for 90 days and will prevent someone from being able to use your personal information to open up new credit card accounts or other loans.

Go To The Police

If you have proof that you are indeed a victim of an identity thief and have had your information used to open up any fraudulent accounts or if money has been stolen out of one of your existing accounts, go to your local police precinct and file an Identity Theft Report. The FTC offers guidance online regarding the completion and submission of such a report. It is also possible to file a separate report with the Federal Trade Commission itself.

Know Your Responsibility

Thanks to a federal law, your financial liability for fraudulent charges made to your credit card account is capped at $50. In fact, the charges are made after you report to your issuer that the card has been lost or stolen, you have no financial liability for any portion of unauthorized charges.

In the case of a lost or stolen debit card, the liability for fraudulent charges is different. Any debit card transactions bearing a signature are generally protected by “zero liability” policies like the ones afforded to credit cards. If the loss is reported within two business days, your liability maxes out at $50. That limit soars to $500 if the loss is reported beyond two business days. If for some reason you don’t notify your bank of the loss within 60 days of receiving a statement bearing unauthorized charges you run the risk of being held liable for the whole amount.

Certain types of transactions at the store or an ATM where you enter your PIN number instead of signing a receipt may not be covered under your card issuer’s zero-liability policy depending on the PIN debit network that is utilized in completing the transaction. Contact your bank and ask them to provide more information.

Keep Vigilant

In the future, make sure that you carefully comb over your monthly bank and credit card statements while keeping an eye out for fraudulent charges. It’s good to get into the habit of going online every couple of days to check your account activity.

All rates and fees, and other terms and conditions of the products mentioned in this article/post are actual as of the last update date but are subject to change. See the current products' Terms & Conditions on the issuing banks' websites.

Latest Other Card Guides

Maxing Out Your Credit Card: What to Expect When You Go Over Your Credit Limit? January 26th, 2024

When it comes to obtaining Đ° new line of credit, whether it’s a credit card, personal loan, mortgage, or any other way to borrow money, one of the most crucial aspects is the credit limit. Credit limit is the maximum amount you can charge on a particular credit card or other type of credit account. […]

Continue »
How to keep your money safe? Common types of bank accounts November 16th, 2023

Bank accounts offer a convenient and secure place to store cash and build savings. Savings and checking accounts are the most well-known types of bank accounts, but there are actually other options that financial institutions commonly offer. There are different types of bank accounts that can fit specific needs. Apart from Checking and Savings Accounts, […]

Continue »
The best alternative to payday loans: a Paycheck Advance Apps overview September 26th, 2023

If you need to make ends meet before your next paycheck, fast cash options like payday loans or installment loans are not your only options. Paycheck advance apps have been booming in the financial services industry in recent years, and the idea of an app that allows you to borrow money with low or no […]

Continue »
How to cope with the over-budget holiday debts? December 28th, 2022

The holiday season is a time when many Americans spend big on dearest friends, relatives, and themselves. During the festive fuss and buzz, it’s easy to fall into the urge to spend and buy more than you can afford. However, if you don’t want overspending to set you back financially in the new year, here’s […]

Continue »
What Are Electronic Payment Methods and How Do They Work? October 10th, 2022

If you frequently make online payments but remain concerned about your sensitive bank account details, virtual credit card or digital wallet services can give you the added layer of protection you need. A virtual credit card (VCC) is an online only version of your debit or credit card. It’s not a physical card, but a […]

Continue »
Best Credit Offer
Destiny Mastercard®
Check off the cards you want to compare. Then click the Compare link to go to the comparison table.
Consumer Rating: 4 / 5
Horizon Card Services Group One Freedom Card
Copyright © 2001-2024 All Rights Reserved.

See the credit card's terms and conditions on the online application page. Note that this website may be compensated by credit card issuers when the visitor applies for a card through the links on this website. We do our best to maintain all information accurate and up to date. However, we do not warrant the credit card information won't change. Click the "Apply Online" button and review the current info on the secure credit card terms page.

Information in these articles is brought to you by Banks, issuers, and credit card companies mentioned in the articles do not endorse or guarantee, and are not responsible for, the contents of the articles.

The webpage is a free service and an information resource for credit cards and financial products and services available to eligible United States consumers. does not offer any warranties and is not a direct service. There are no guarantees for approval or offers when applying for a credit card. Please refer to the application if you would like more information on each credit card. When you click "Apply" for a particular credit card, please take the time to review the terms and conditions of the product/service at the issuer's website. All logos on the website are property of their respective owners.

Disclaimer: This editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate info, however all info is presented without warranty. Consult a card's issuing bank for terms & conditions. makes every effort to keep information up to date and accurate. However, the information regularly changes and is presented without warranty. Therefore, we strongly recommend all our readers to visit the credit card application page by clicking "Apply Online!" button to review the detailed credit card's terms and conditions. Note that may be compensated by the credit card issuers when the readers apply for a credit card through this site. is an independent, advertising-supported website which receives compensation from the credit card issuers and companies whose offers appear on the site. Compensation may impact how and where products appear on our site, including, for example, the order in which they may appear on the site pages. does not review or list all available financial or credit offers.

You've successfully subscribed!

Please specify the following:All these fields are optional

Thank you for providing this information! We will make sure our letters are useful for You.

User Generated Content Disclaimer: These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.