Just the other day while I was out shopping, the woman standing next to me at the registers went to grab her credit card and realized her wallet was missing. I saw the look of panic on her face and remembered how I felt when my wallet was stolen. So many things run through your mind that you’re not quite sure what to do first.
Here’s my advice: Don’t Panic!
While losing your wallet involves more than just losing your credit cards, canceling and replacing your credit cards is — thankfully — a pretty easy process. The trick to avoid the financial anxiety associated with a lost or stolen credit card is to be prepared. First and foremost: make sure you have the account and phone numbers for each of your credit cards in a safe place so you can quickly locate the information you need. This way you will always be in better control of your credit card security.
Fortunately, $50 is the most you’ll be liable for if your credit card is lost or stolen, and chances are that you won’t actually be responsible for even that much. If you call right away, you won’t have to pay anything for the unauthorized purchases.
Here’s a quick look at what you should do in the event of a stolen credit card or lost credit card:
1. Cancel the card by calling the issuer. For a card issued by Hanscom Federal Credit Union, call 800-656-4328.
2. If you can, be ready to tell them the last purchase you made with the card and the amount.
3. Contact one of the credit bureaus — TransUnion, Equifax or Experian — and ask them to place a credit card fraud alert on your account so that if your credit card was stolen, the thief can’t open any new lines of credit in your name.
4. Keep records of who you talk to and when.
5. Check your billing statements for unauthorized purchases and contact the card issuer about any that appear on your statements.
The good news is that losing your credit card won’t negatively affect your credit score as long as you pay for your own purchases.
One final tip: If you lose your debit card, call ASAP so no one can use the card to run through the cash in your checking account. But don’t worry — the credit union will refund any purchases that weren’t authorized by you.
Learn more about your Hanscom FCU MasterCard® credit card.