Credit card fraud is much more prevalent than we think. Hackers are growing in number and are smarter and more sophisticated than ever before. Millions of Americans fall prey to credit card information theft every year. It can happen to any cardholder at any point of time. Besides the financial loss, the experience of information theft can be unnerving. It makes you feel powerless and unsure of how to proceed. But luckily, there are a few things you can control before it’s too late. So if your credit card is ever compromised, remember to take these immediate steps to avert financial loss.
What to do if You’re a Victim of Credit Card Fraud
Contact the credit card company
As soon as you find suspicious activity on your credit card, or if your card goes missing, call the card issuer immediately and request suspension of your account until a new card is issued. Many cards allow you to freeze your account from their mobile app. Fortunately, most credit card companies have a zero-liability policy. That is, you will not be responsible for the fraudulent charges on your account. In fact, according to federal law, you are not liable to pay any charges arising due to credit card fraud.
Change your credentials and update your contact information
As soon as you have informed the issuer, change your online passwords and PINs for the credit card account. This can prevent further damage. Check your address and phone number on the account to make sure there has been no unauthorized change to your contact information.
Monitor your account activity
You may never find out how your credit card was compromised. But you can take steps to prevent it from happening again. Put a security alert on your account. This way, creditors will verify your identity before processing any transaction. This can prevent misuse of your credit card information in the future. Likewise, keep track of the transactions on your account every day to report any fraudulent activity at the earliest.
Change recurring payments
Don’t allow credit card fraud to affect other aspects of your finances. Once your card is suspended it cannot be used for making any payments until you receive a new credit card with a new number. So make sure all the bills attached to your compromised credit card are changed to another mode of payment to avoid defaulting.
Report identity theft
It’s a good idea to file a police report and document your communication with the issuers and credit bureaus. Also, consider reporting the theft to the Federal Trade Commission that tracks identity crimes.
It may not possible to eliminate every chance of becoming a victim of credit card fraud. But you can definitely reduce the risk by using your credit card carefully. Do not ever disclose your credit card information to unverified sources, change your passwords and PINs frequently, and only use trusted and verified websites to make online payments. These simple steps can deflect attempts made to steal your credit card information and effectively prevent misuse.