The Time is Crucial When Your Credit Card is Stolen

When someone steal your credit card, you need to act fast and get past that chock quickly. The most important thing is to report the loss properly and as quickly as possible to the relevant departments and agencies.

It may be too late to stop the thief from stealing your cards, but it isn't too late to limit the damage he (or she!) can cause! If your wallet, purse or credit/debit cards have been stolen, take the following actions:

More "Must Do"

1. Make a list of what was stolen. If your purse was stolen, which credit cards were in it? Debit Cards? Did you have your driver's license or social security card in your purse? What about a check book?

2. Notify your bank, credit card company and any other accounts IMMEDIATELY!

a. For credit accounts, notify them of the stolen cards and request replacement cards with new account numbers.

b. If bank accounts have been compromised, notify them of any stolen cards or checks; close the involved accounts and open new ones.

c. For other accounts such as insurance, gym memberships, video rental cards or any other cards with personal information, notify the issuing company and request a new card.

d. Keep a record of all correspondence.

3. Contact your local law enforcement agency and file a report. Make sure you get a copy of the report for your records.

4. Place a fraud alert with the 3 Credit Reporting Agencies (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian).

5. Order a copy of your credit report from each credit reporting agency and review it for unauthorized account openings, change of address information or any other changes you did not consent to.

6. Contact the agency that issued your driver's license or identification card and place a stolen/lost warning on your file.

7. Monitor all bills and accounts for unauthorized charges.

Quick Defensive Tips

  • Keep your purse, wallet and personal information secured when you are at work. Inside a lockable cabinet or file drawer would be ideal.

  • Don't leave your purse, wallet or personal information in your vehicle - particularly if it is in plain view.

  • When attending events with large crowds (concerts, sporting events, etc.), just take the items you absolutely need such as your debit card and driver's license. Don't carry a bag or purse; just put the items in your pocket.

  • Minimize the identification information and number of cards you carry to what you actually need.

  • Do not use your Social Security number on your driver's license or checks.

  • Don't carry your Social Security card in your purse or wallet.

  • Get LifeLock and you will never need to worry about your credit card again!

Realize The Damage

You may not even realize your cards and details are missing for several hours or maybe even longer, especially if they were stolen from your work place, home or vehicle.

Most banks allow you to set daily spending limits on your debit cards which may give you some protection in an identity theft situation. But I have an even better workaround for you...

On the reverse side of your cards, you will find the signature strip, which you are required to sign when you receive your card. Instead of signing your name, clearly write 'Please Check ID' on the strip.

Make sure it is large and clear enough to read. When you make a purchase in person, the cashier will look at the strip and will ask for additional id to verify that you are who you say you are.

In years of using this method, not a single cashier has failed to notice the strip and ask me for further id! How's that for free protection?

It is a step in the right direction, but it does not protect you from online card fraud or phone purchases - and I have noticed lately that many stores do not even require your signature if the purchase is under $25!

The LifeLock

If you want superior protection against identity theft before it happens, then I would highly recommend taking a look at LifeLock. This is an identity theft protection company that prevents your identity from being stolen before it happens.

For only $10 per month, they will take steps to start protecting you immediately and then continue to monitor your credit. They even have a $1,000,000 service guarantee!

If you are faced with having your purse or wallet stolen, it can be a real hassle to contact each bank and credit company to report the problem.

LifeLock provides you with WalletLock, so if your wallet or purse is ever stolen, a recovery specialist will help you contact each credit card, bank or document issuing company and cancel your affected accounts!

The specialist will also complete the paperwork and steps necessary to replace your lost documents, including your credit and debit cards, driver's license, social security card, insurance cards, checkbook and even travelers checks!