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What to Do When Your Credit Card Gets Stolen

Many people start panicking when they find their credit card is lost. Actually this reaction is not very helpful. Because with the right knowledge, you can handle this bad situation much better!

If your credit card is stolen, the first and most important thing you need to do is act quickly. If you act quickly, the damage can be minimized - in fact, it can cost you as little as nothing.

If you wait to act on the theft, however, it can end up costing you a lot. If you wait more than two days, it could cost you as much as $500. If you wait until your bank statement is mailed to you, you could lose as much as the thief charges on your credit card.

So, if your credit card gets stolen, what should you do?

Report It to Your Credit Card Company Right Away

There's a phone number on every statement, on the company's website and on your online banking statement as well. The phone number is usually toll free and manned every 24 hours.

Call this number and report your credit card stolen. They'll want to know your social security number, when the card went missing, the circumstances under which it went missing and the date of the last purchase.

The Fair Credit Billing Act

The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) is a bill that protects consumers against the risk of credit card theft. The FCBA states that if your credit card gets stolen, you're only liable for up to $50 in damages if you report the theft within two business days.

If you report the theft before the thief can use the card, you won't even be liable for $50. If you report it once the card has been used, your credit card company can only charge you up to $50 of the amount spent.

So, report it right away - and you most likely won't have to pay anything out of pocket.

Watch Your Credit Card Statement

After a card theft, it's important that you watch your credit card statement like a hawk for the next 30 days.

Make sure no unauthorized transactions show up. Sometimes unauthorized transactions can take some time to process through the system. Make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

A Word about Identity Theft

If you suspect that your credit card getting stolen wasn't a mere act of theft but part of a larger identity theft plan, then report that to the credit bureaus right away.

They'll place a fraud alert on your credit report, which will make it much harder for anyone to open new accounts in your name.

Again, the faster you can act, the better.

Losing a credit card doesn't have to cost you money. It could just end up being bit of a hassle and a waste of time. Make sure you report it early and the bank will bear most of the costs.