Credit card, ATM and Internet fraud can often be prevented. Most thieves use stolen credit cards within 48 hours. Call your credit card company immediately to report a lost card. Most companies have a 24-hour toll-free number.
Limit your credit card losses
If you call the company before the card is used, the Fair Credit Billing Act says you're not responsible for unauthorized charges. If a thief uses your card before you report it, you may be responsible for a portion of the loss. Follow up your call with a letter giving your account number, the date the card was missing and when you called in the report.
It's important to be careful when you use your credit cards. Never lend them to anyone, and never leave your cards or receipts lying around, no matter where you live. Heeding a few simple rules can save you from being a victim of credit card fraud or theft.
- Always know where your cards are and keep them in a safe place.
- Don't give your account number over the phone unless you know the company and you made the call.
- Get a card that has added security features, such as a photo, disposable credit card numbers and free services to help you recover from fraud or identity theft should it happen to you.
- Draw a line through the blank space above the total on charge slips to prevent changes. Tear up carbons from slips.
- Don't sign blank charge slips.
- Always check receipts against your monthly statements. Errors must be reported within 60 days of the statement mailing date.
- Record card numbers, expiration dates and phone numbers. Keep this record in a safe place separate from your cards. Use it if you need to report lost or stolen cards.
- Never put your account number or personal identification number (PIN) on the outside of an envelope or postcard. Never put your PIN on the card or in your wallet.
- Only carry the cards you need, especially when traveling.
- Frequently check your account online to identify erroneous charges. It’s quicker than waiting for monthly paper statements.