While misplacing your card or becoming the victim of theft has a possibility of occurring at any point during the year, according to research conducted by PNC Bank, the reports made by consumers of lost and stolen debit or credit cards increases, on average, 19% in the hectic months of November and December. It seems that holiday shoppers tend to be a bit forgetful when it comes to their plastic.
According to Mark Ford, PNC Bank’s consumer credit and debit card expert, "Losing a credit or debit card, whether by theft or by accident, is often a preventable problem."
One reason for the big spike in lost and stolen cards around the holidays is pretty simple – people are just pulling out their debit or credit cards more often during that time of the year. Combine an increased frequency of use with the chaos and confusion of crowded stores, frantic shoppers and long lines and it’s no wonder that occurrences of loss and theft rise.
There are a few tricks you can employ to keep better track of your credit and debit cards. They are not only useful to know around the holidays but all year round.
- Don’t hand off you credit or debit card to anyone else for them to use, not even a family member. Likewise, it’s better not to co-sign for a card that will be used by someone else at times when you will not be present to supervise.
- Make certain that you know where you cards are at any given time. Never, ever leave your purse or wallet unattended. Not even for a second – that’s all it takes for a thief to snatch your belongings and disappear.
- Do not provide anyone else with your debit card account number, your credit card account number or any of your security passwords or PIN numbers to anyone you don’t know either over the telephone or via the computer.
- Pay attention and be mindful that you are handed back your card after you use it to make a purchases. You should do whatever it takes to make sure that you don’t lose sight of your card at any time during the transaction process. This can be awkward at times, particularly in places like restaurants or cafes. If need be, simply follow the server to the credit card terminal so that you can watch them process the transaction.
If you discover at any point that your card is missing
you must immediately:
- Call the bank that issued your credit card to tell one of their service representatives that your card is lost or has been stolen. They will ask you questions regarding the last transaction you authorized and for what amount to determine if there has been any fraudulent activity since you last has possession of the card.
- If necessary, file a police report and keep a copy of it for you personal records.
- Change all PIN numbers and passwords associated with that particular account immediately. If those PIN’s and passwords match another account, change those as well.