One of the biggest headaches, and scares, you can have is when your wallet is lost or stolen with all your personal information inside. With some simple, yet timely, efforts you can protect your credit score and prevent a minor nuisance from turning into a major problem. Here is a list of what you should do when you have stolen credit cards.
1. The first thing you want to do is contact the card issuer. Let them know your cards are missing, whether lost or stolen either way thieves can take advantage of the situation. Once the card company learns that your cards are missing they will cancel your account and place an alert on the account so if someone tries to use your card it will show up as being stolen and the transaction will be denied.
Most thieve know this so they will try to use your card as soon as possible after they’ve found it. That’s why you want to contact your card issuer as soon as you can. Make sure you can provide them with all your account information so they can more easily identify your particular account.
It’s also important for you to keep careful track of all the steps you take in reporting your lost cards. Note the time of your call, who you spoke with, and what was advised. This information might come in handy if you have to clear up issues on your credit report in the future.
2. Contact your local police and fill out a theft report. Again, it’s vital that you keep copies of all reports that you fill out so you can prove the time line and everything you did to try and prevent fraudulent activity from occurring.
3. Contact all three credit bureaus and let them know that you have lost or stolen credit cards. This information, coupled with the police report you filled out, should be enough for a fraud alert to be placed by all three credit bureaus. A fraud alert simply lets any company know that your information may have been compromised and that they should take more detailed measures to assure that it really is you who is requesting a credit card or a loan.
You will also be able to receive a free copy of your credit report from each credit bureau. Carefully look them over for any signs of fraudulent activity. If you see something that doesn’t seem right such as an incorrect address or inquiries from companies you’ve never dealt with, don’t assume it’s just a mistake. Immediately bring this incorrect information to the attention of someone in the credit bureaus fraud department. Again, make sure you document everything.
Of course you always want to be careful with all your financial information, not just your credit cards. But sometimes even when you’re careful things go wrong. If you ever find that you’ve had stolen credit cards make sure you act as fast as possible and hopefully you can stop the thief in their tracks.