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How to Get Help With Lost or Stolen Credit Cards

If your credit card has been lost, or your card’s details were stolen, don’t panic. This happens to more people than you might think, and financial institutions are ready to help. Take a breath, follow the plan below and everything can be back to normal in a short period of time.

February 9, 2021 in Learn

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Step 1. Lock or freeze a lost or stolen credit card

Many providers will let you lock or freeze your lost credit card while you try to find it, often for a period of about seven days. (If you’re worried about stolen credit card details, go to the next step). While this measure will block most in-person transactions, some online payments or purchases may still go through, depending on your provider.

 

To lock your card, log on to your creditor’s website or app, look for the “Freeze Your Card“ item (or similar feature), and follow the steps.

Step 2. Review your transaction history and address any suspicious charges

Staying on the website or app, review your transaction history to check for any charges that stand out from your usual pattern. Here are the steps to check if your credit card has been stolen and is being used fraudulently.

 

  • Pull up your monthly statement or recent transaction history.
  • If a transaction doesn’t look familiar, make a note of the date, the amount and the name of the company.
  • Review our common reasons for unfamiliar transactions, which includes things like third-party company names and forgotten annual subscriptions.

If you still can’t place the origin of a transaction, immediately contact your provider.

Step 3. Call your provider to report your lost or stolen credit card

Even if it’s the middle of the night or you’ve lost a credit card overseas, many financial institutions have a 24-hour, toll-free number to call. You can often locate this number on the back of a credit or debit card, on the provider’s app or on a paper statement. Alternatively, you can log on to your provider’s website and search “lost or stolen credit card“ for the number.

 

Tip: If you do a quick online search without logging in to your account directly, double-check that you’re on your provider’s site — not an imposter’s — by noting the URL in your browser’s address window.

 

When you report a lost credit card, an agent will usually want to know:

 

• Your account number plus some identifying detail, such as your address

• The date and time you noticed your card was missing

• The date and amount of your last legitimate purchase

• Any fraudulent purchases you’ve noticed on your statement

 

Your card issuer will then freeze your account, suspend any charges you did not make and send you a new card with a new number. Cardholders are often not held responsible for fraudulent charges, but ask to be sure. It’s also a good idea to put your creditor’s toll-free number into your phone for easy access another time, just in case.

Step 4. Reset personal identification numbers (PINs)

If someone has your lost or stolen credit card, changing the PIN will further ensure they can’t use it. Log on to your provider’s website or use their app to change your card’s PIN. Follow the prompts and be prepared to enter old credit card details, including your old PIN.

 

For some providers, you’ll use your old PIN one more time before the new one activates — even with your replacement card. After you’ve completed your first purchase with your old PIN, you will now be able to use your new PIN for future transactions.

Step 5. Move any recurring charges to your replacement credit card

Set aside an hour to review old statements and highlight recurring charges. (This is actually a terrific way to get organized for online bill payments, so you may want to make it a habit.) Here are some of the most common:

 

• Household bills

• Apps and software subscriptions • Insurance plans

• Music, TV and movie streaming services

• Membership fees or dues

• Delivery services

• Ride-sharing programs

 

The next step is to update your credit card number with any merchants who need it. (Bonus: This is also a good time to save some cash by cancelling any unwanted subscriptions.) Avoid putting off or ignoring requests to update your credit card information — you could be charged late fees or, worse, sent to collections if a bill remains unpaid due to missing account information.

Step 6. Learn about the types of credit card fraud to watch for

It’s not just someone stealing your credit card that you have to be mindful of. Here are some other common types of credit card fraud.

Phishing

To 'phish' for sensitive financial information, fraudsters send fake emails, create bogus websites and make phone calls, pretending to be from a bank or credit card company. All are designed to deceive consumers into divulging personal, financial, or account information.

Fraudulent text alerts

This scam is similar to phishing: You receive a text saying that there’s a problem with your account and asking for personal information. Delete these texts and do not respond.

Malicious software

Spyware, viruses or keystroke-logging programs (a.k.a. key loggers) can steal your passwords and other information. Install a security system on your computer to avoid malicious software, and never open an attachment from an unknown source.

Step 7. Set up a system to prevent future credit card loss or theft

There are some simple steps you can take to ensure you are safeguarding your card:

 

  • Keep your card secure at all times
  • Regularly check that you have your card in your possession
  • Do not let anyone else use your card
  • Ensure that you retrieve your card after making a purchase
  • Never give out your card details to unauthorized parties
  • Protect your PIN, telephone codes, online passwords and any other codes used on your account
  • Take care to prevent anyone else seeing the code when entering it into an ATM or ABM or other electronic device
  • Take care to prevent someone from using or accessing a device on which you have added your account information

American Express® Cardmembers are protected in multiple ways, including through our Fraud Protection Guarantee2, mobile wallet security, SafeKey®, Travel Emergency Assistance1 and so much more. Find out more about how we keep your Card safe by visiting our Security Centre.

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