The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Friday, April 19, 2024

5 Steps to Take When Your Credit Card is Stolen

5 Steps To Take When Your Credit Card Is Stolen
Alexandra Leslie

Written by: Alexandra Leslie

Alexandra Leslie
Alexandra Leslie

Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro
Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience to the CardRates team. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Florida. Today, Lillian edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

See full bio »
Advertiser Disclosure

It’s a scary, sinking feeling when you realize your credit card has been stolen. Once it’s in the hands of someone else, it can quickly be used to make unauthorized purchases.

The good news is most credit cards do not put any liability on the consumers for charges made when the card is lost or stolen if you report the loss quickly, meaning you will not owe money for purchases you didn’t make.

Follow these steps to protect yourself and your finances.

1. Report the stolen card.

Call your issuer immediately and alert them that your card has been stolen. Let them know if you have seen any fraudulent purchases come across on your statement. Either way, they will cancel the account for you so no future fraudulent purchases can be made with your card.

You will receive a new card with different numbers in the mail shortly.

2. Follow up with a letter.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, you also should mail a follow-up letter to your issuer for their records.

“Include your account number, the date and time when you noticed your card was missing and when you first reported the loss,” the FTC recommends.

Make sure to keep a copy of the letter you sent, and send it by certified mail with a return receipt to confirm it was received.

“If you see any indication of

unauthorized charges, call your issuer.”

3. Contact the credit bureaus

Now you need to contact one of the major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax or Experian) and request for a fraud alert to be placed on your credit report. This means an authorized person will not be able to open new lines of credit in your name.

According to IdentityHawk, a fraud prevention company, you only need to contact one of the credit bureaus, as they are required by law to let the other bureaus know when someone has placed a fraud alert.

4. Review your credit card statements and report.

Moving forward, you must carefully monitor your credit card statements and your credit reports from the three agencies to make sure nothing suspicious shows up.

If you see any indication of unauthorized charges, call your issuer again to make sure they are aware of these fraudulent transactions.

5. Update your auto-billing accounts.

Many people have bills for items such as cell phones or Internet to be automatically charged to their credit card each month.

Make a list of every account you had on autopay with this stolen card, and then go and update each one with your new card. This will ensure you continue to pay all your bills on time and don’t accidentally get any dings to your credit.

Photo source:

Advertiser Disclosure is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation for referrals for many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across (including, for example, the order in which they appear). does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.