Unfortunately, credit card fraud is an all too common occurrence, and many people don’t know what to do if it happens to them. Whether your card has been lost or stolen, or your account information has been exposed to thieves, you need to take fast action to secure your financial well-being.
We’ll cover what you need to do if your credit cards have been compromised and how to help prevent it from happening again. With these tips, you’ll be spending safer and with peace of mind.
Be Proactive and Keep an Eye on Your Accounts
The first step to protecting your credit card information is keeping a close eye on your accounts. If you check your accounts only when you log in to pay a bill, you won’t have a good idea of when fraud has occurred. Check your spending at least once a week, and be on the lookout for unfamiliar charges. Many companies offer monitoring services that will notify you when any amount is charged to your card, when your card number has been used online, or has even been used for international purchases. You can authorize the purchase with the tap of a button or reject it and report it for fraud.
It can be unnerving knowing that a bad actor has your data and is spending your money, but you shouldn’t stress about financial ramifications in these situations. Most of the time, credit card companies offer complete protection for unauthorized purchases, and you shouldn’t have to pay any money for what others have spent. Reporting fraud and getting new accounts is time-consuming and inconvenient, but luckily, it won’t be a financial burden, as well.
If your card is lost or stolen, or you notice suspicious charges to your account, contact your card company and shut it down immediately. You’ll also be able to report all fraudulent spending that may have occurred.
A new account will be created for you on the spot, and new cards will be sent immediately. Be sure to verify your personal and contact details with an agent, and make sure new cards arrive at your current address.
You should also change your account passwords during these first few hours. If you’ve noticed suspicious charges and still have your physical card, thieves likely have access to your account online. Make it a point to change all of your passwords periodically to help keep your information safer on the web.
Changing passwords shouldn’t be the last step, however. Be sure to monitor your statements for a few months after the initial fraud to ensure no other charges made it through. Unauthorized purchases take a long time to show up, so get in a routine of checking for this kind of activity, and you’ll catch new instances and old cases alike.
If your credit card company doesn’t offer identity theft and fraud monitoring services, consider signing up through a third party. These companies will cost you a little each month but can be invaluable in securing your long-term financial health. They provide fast communication in the event of fraud and can help get things back on track quickly.
While most of us will suffer a case of credit card theft or fraud at least once in our lives, there are simple steps you can take to stay as secure as possible. With attention and fast action, you’ll be able to keep a step ahead of thieves and never be inconvenienced again.