How to Report a Lost or Stolen Credit Card

Discovering you have lost your credit card creates a flood of panic even in the calmest of personalities. Here are a few things to remember as you retrace your steps through the mall:

Contact your bank as soon as you realize you and your credit card have parted. Customer liability is capped at $50 for unauthorized transactions (and most banks don't even attempt to collect that in the name of customer service). Still, it's important to notify your bank as soon as you realize your card is missing. If you don't have your bank's contact information you can call Visa International at 1-800-VISA-911 to be routed to your banking institution. Mastercard has a similar emergency phone number, 1-800-MCAssist. When connected to your financial institution advise them you have lost your credit card and ask that they place a watch on your account while you retrace your steps. If you have no idea where it could be it might be safer to go ahead and request a "block and transfer" to shut down the old card and establish a new account number, card and PIN.

Carefully review your next billing statement and report any fraudulent charges to your bank immediately, in writing. It is a good idea to take notes indicating the person you spoke to at your bank and the times/dates you first reported your card lost or stolen. It is also smart to go ahead and write down the last time and date you remember using your card, along with a short description of the merchandise purchased and total amount. When your statement arrives this will make it much easier to identify which purchases belong to you, and which ones were used by an unauthorized user. If you do identify charges not belonging to you contact your bank immediately and ask to speak to the fraud victim division. They will provide instructions for disputing the charges, and advise whether or not a police report and affidavit is required. Be sure to follow up in writing. Federal regulations require a written letter from the customer to initiate the dispute process, even if you notify the bank via telephone. Send the letter "return receipt requested" so you have a record of when the bank received your notification.

If required, follow through with a police report (call the non-emergency phone number listed for your local jurisdiction) and provide the bank with a copy. If a suspect is identified you may be asked to sign an affidavit of forgery indicating you were a victim of financial fraud. Do not be intimidated, even if you know the person who used your card. Most credit card fraud is categorized as "friendly fraud," meaning the victim knew the perpetrator. Doesn't matter. The responsible party has committed fraud, and needs to either suffer the consequences or pay restitution to the bank.

Source: Associated Content

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