One of the simplest and most common forms of credit card fraud involves the misuse of a stolen credit card. A stolen credit card is still perfectly active until a credit card company is informed that the card has been stolen. Nowadays, most credit card companies have a free telephone service that is always available for reporting lost or stolen credit cards.
But if a card holder does not realize that his card is lost or stolen, then he might not report it for some time, allowing the thief to then make any number of purchases using the card. Indeed, the other forms of security that might help to prevent a stolen credit card from being used are often ineffective for one reason or another. Signature panels on the backs of cards do not work, as signatures can be forged, and picture ID will most often not be requested by sellers; even if picture ID is requested, it will likely not out a stolen credit card, as it is perfectly within a supposed card holder’s right to refuse to give such picture ID.
The best way to minimize the damage of a stolen credit card is by quickly reporting the stolen credit card with the credit company. Doing so quickly is essential to avoid later reporting credit card fraud based on the fraudulent charges incurred between whenever you lost the card and whenever you reported it. The number should be easily found online, but it can also be found on your billing statements.
Once you’ve reported the stolen credit card, then you have to deal with any fraudulent charges that might have been incurred through the card. Reporting credit card fraud should also be done as quickly as possible, so as to avoid any further danger to your credit score and finances. The Fair Credit Billing Act ensures that you will only be held liable for a maximum of $50 on your card for the fraudulent purchases, but the credit card company still has to remove the charges from the card; reporting credit card fraud early will give them more warning, and help to speed up the overall process involved.
Considering that a lost or stolen credit card is likely one of the most commonplace sources of credit card fraud in the country, it is one of the sources that has been best defended against. The bottom line of dealing with a stolen credit card is that reporting it quickly will minimize any possible damage you might suffer, and after the fact, while it would not be the easiest thing in the world to deal with the fraudulent charges, the law would be on your side. Reporting credit card fraud would inherently protect you in any number of ways from the negative side effects of credit card fraud, and as a result, it is likely that the entire incident might not amount to terribly much damage, assuming that you act fast.
If instead of having a single stolen credit card, your entire wallet is stolen, however, that is a different story. You’ll have to cancel every stolen credit card that was in the wallet, and be prepared for reporting credit card fraud on every card. You will also likely want to take measures concerning the other documentation and identification you might have had in your wallet, as that could easily lead to instances of identity theft. But on the whole, though a stolen credit card is the most likely lead-in to credit card fraud, it is also one of the easiest to deal with.