Security experts and credit card specialists are urging cardholders to take immediate action if they suspect their cards stolen or lost. A stolen credit card can mean unwanted and unauthorized purchases in the cardholder's name. These can spell trouble for their credit reports and ratings, further reducing their chances of getting credit or loans extended to them. Financial institutions would often shy away from offering loans and other forms of assistance if they see lavish credit card expenses.
To avoid these problems, experts advise cardholders to be vigilant and aware of how they use their cards and where they are at all times. They point out that many Americans are complacent when it comes to their cards, thinking that they will only be liable for $50 worth of purchases if their cards are stolen or lost. While $50 may not be a large amount, the amount of the actual purchases will still reflect in the card statements. If left unchanged, this can have a significant effect on credit scores and ratings.
Cardholders need to review their card statements regularly and scrutinize each and every entry for signs of irregularities. Unexplained purchases like charges to credit cards can be the first signs of trouble. Sometimes, card companies can call their clients and ask them about certain purchases they do not remember. All these can be probable signs of a stolen card or compromised card data, says experts.
If the cardholders suspect that their cards are no longer under their full control or possession, they should contact their card issuers immediately. Most card companies have toll-free numbers and service hotlines for their clients to report suspected fraud. Cardholders must have all the necessary data such as the card number, date and place it was lost, and the date unauthorized charges were made at hand when reporting to their card companies. Consumers also need to report any lost or stolen cards within 60 days to avail of the $50 maximum liability amount. They also need to constantly follow up their complaints through letters to ensure that their card companies have received their complaints.
To prevent any future thefts and to facilitate speedy solutions to suspected card frauds, cardholders are advised to keep records of their credit cards and all related data in a secure place. The cards' numbers, credit limits, PINs, and the card companies' contact details must be recorded. For added security, cardholders can also photocopy their cards for reference in the even they are stolen or lost.