What Should You Do If Your Credit Card Number Is Stolen?


Quick Answer

If a credit card number is stolen, consumers should report the theft immediately to their credit card company or ATM provider, as losses resulting from that number being stolen can accumulate quickly as a result of failure to take action. Many credit card companies offer services specifically for helping consumers deal with the loss or theft of their credit cards and card numbers, say experts at the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC. Consumers relieve themselves of further liability after reporting losses, although the scope of liability varies depending on the type and make of credit card.

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What Should You Do If Your Credit Card Number Is Stolen?
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Full Answer

Consumers reporting a credit card number loss should take several actions upon discovering the error. After calling their appropriate credit card issuer, consumers should follow up with a written statement, either in standard letter or email form. This written correspondence should state the affected account number, a date and time when the cardholder first noticed the wrongdoing and time of initial call to the credit card company. Consumers should also evaluate their credit card statements to search for unauthorized transactions, say officials at the FTC.

Additionally, they should consult their homeowner's insurance policy contract to determine if that company covers losses of credit card information. Reporting a loss as soon as possible reduces potentially catastrophic financial damage; fees start at $50 with a failure to report a loss after 2 days, and may lead to a loss of all bank account finances for losses reported 60 days or more after an incident.

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