Stolen Credit Card Issues

by : Joseph Farinaccio

If faced with a stolen credit card then assume the thief will try and tap that account. Contact the credit issuer right away. They'll probably advice you to close the account and replace its number with a newer one.

But doing only this may not be enough. Why? Because the ID thief might try to tap into or change your account info.

You can place a fraud alert on all accounts with that credit institution. If you have usernames and passwords for these accounts then update them. (Avoid using common usernames and passwords that include things such as your social security number, mother's maiden name, child's name or other family member's name.

As a general rule, establishing a password for your bank & financial accounts is a good thing. It's often possible to formally request that a password be required in for any action to take place with your accounts -- such as a withdrawals, name/address changes, billing information disclosures, etc.

Ask the institution to contact you whenever an attempt is made to apply for credit in your name. This credit alert might say something like, "Please contact me immediately at this phone number before issuing any new credit. All new credit lines must be personally validated by me."

You want to monitor the activity in all your financial accounts, especially withdrawals. Report any unauthorized transactions or suspicious activity to the security department of your financial institution immediately if any issues arise.

Go ahead and file a police report too. You may not want to do this. After all, it's just one credit card, right?

If you do find yourself having to purge your credit profile of fraudulent accounts then you're going to have to "prove" these accounts weren't really yours to begin with. A police report is handy in this regard.

Be aware that when it comes to ID fraud, credit issuers and credit reporting agencies alike expect to see any accounts or mis-information you contest on a police report.

Vigilance must be maintained. Sadly, one can never be 100% sure they're in the clear when it comes to identity theft. There are many holes and gaps in the system that allow people to be victimized. But doing your part may prevent a stolen credit card situation from becoming a full-blown identity theft nightmare.