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
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.
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.
If you still can’t place the origin of a transaction, immediately contact your provider.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are some simple steps you can take to ensure you are safeguarding your card:
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.