What to Do if Your Credit Card Number is Stolen

It seems like everywhere you turn there is a news broadcast or article discussing the rise of credit card fraud, especially on the web. There are a variety of ways that criminals either snatch your credit cards or get access to your number and other personal information in order to make fraudulent purchases or wreak…
Advertising Disclosure.

Advertiser Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone. This article may contain links from our advertisers. For more information, please see our Advertising Policy.

The Military Wallet has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. The Military Wallet and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on The Military Wallet are from advertisers. Compensation may impact how and where card products appear, but does not affect our editors’ opinions or evaluations. The Military Wallet does not include all card companies or all available card offers.

It seems like everywhere you turn there is a news broadcast or article discussing the rise of credit card fraud, especially on the web. There are a variety of ways that criminals either snatch your credit cards or get access to your number and other personal information in order to make fraudulent purchases or wreak havoc on your credit status.

Unfortunately, it’s all too easy for thieves to steal your credit card information, rack up some charges for a brief period, then move on to someone else. It can happen to anyone, even if your credit card rarely leaves your wallet or purse. In fact, you may only become aware of the problem if you get a call from your credit card company’s fraud department or you receive a statement with unexplainable purchases.

Report the Issue Immediately

If your credit card number has been stolen, remember that you have options for addressing the problem. First, you are protected under federal law as long as you report the issue as soon as you discover it. According to the FTC, your liability is limited to $50 if your card is stolen, and no liability if only your credit card number is stolen, provided you report the problem right away. Keep in mind that you may be liable for all unlawful charges if you don’t report the theft in a timely manner. (Rules for stolen debit card numbers are different).

After you discover the theft, call your credit card issuer immediately. Ask that they suspend the card, halting any further transactions so they can’t be processed. This measure can be accomplished in seconds. Your provider will contact the law enforcement authorities to give them all the relevant information. Then they should issue you a new credit card shortly.

Trace Your Credit Card Use

Next, try to determine how your credit card number was stolen. When was the last time you used your card? Was it online or in person? Did you look closely at the receipt you signed?

Unfortunately, thieves are becoming more creative when stealing credit card information you don’t have to lose your purse or wallet to become a victim of credit card theft. Two of the most difficult scams to avoid are credit card skimming and RFID theft.

Credit card skimming is when a thief runs your credit card through a small skimmer to record your credit card number and other information that is held on the magnetic strip on your card. It can happen in the blink of an eye and is very difficult to prevent. This can happen when you pay for a meal at a restaurant or when a merchant slides your card under the counter or through a skimmer when you aren’t watching. Thieves can also hide skimmers inside a store’s credit card readers, making them even harder to detect.

RFID skimming is a relatively new form of credit card theft, which occurs when thieves use a radio frequency reader to steal your credit card information. The scary part is that they can do this while your credit card remains in your purse or wallet. Not all credit cards have RFID technology, but there are a growing number of cards that do.

Other Methods of Stealing Credit Card Information

Your credit card information can also be stolen online. Only use your credit card on trusted websites, and if possible, never store your credit card information online. While it’s convenient and can save you time if you use a merchant frequently, it is also one more way you can have your information stolen.

Some identity thieves also regularly steal mail from unprotected mailboxes and search for anything they might find valuable, including newly issued credit cards and other financial information.

Credit Card Issuers are on Your Side

Credit card companies, merchants, banks and others are fighting back with new security measures to stop credit card fraud. In many cases, the more complex procedures are helping to reduce the instances of fraudulent credit card use, but this doesn’t address concerns once your card’s number has been snatched.

About Post Author

Get Instant Access
FREE Weekly Updates! Enter your information to join our mailing list.

Posted In:

Reader Interactions

Leave A Comment:


About the comments on this site:

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

The Military Wallet is a property of Three Creeks Media. Neither The Military Wallet nor Three Creeks Media are associated with or endorsed by the U.S. Departments of Defense or Veterans Affairs. The content on The Military Wallet is produced by Three Creeks Media, its partners, affiliates and contractors, any opinions or statements on The Military Wallet should not be attributed to the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, the Dept. of Defense or any governmental entity. If you have questions about Veteran programs offered through or by the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, please visit their website at va.gov. The content offered on The Military Wallet is for general informational purposes only and may not be relevant to any consumer’s specific situation, this content should not be construed as legal or financial advice. If you have questions of a specific nature consider consulting a financial professional, accountant or attorney to discuss. References to third-party products, rates and offers may change without notice.

Advertising Notice: The Military Wallet and Three Creeks Media, its parent and affiliate companies, may receive compensation through advertising placements on The Military Wallet; For any rankings or lists on this site, The Military Wallet may receive compensation from the companies being ranked and this compensation may affect how, where and in what order products and companies appear in the rankings and lists. If a ranking or list has a company noted to be a “partner” the indicated company is a corporate affiliate of The Military Wallet. No tables, rankings or lists are fully comprehensive and do not include all companies or available products.

Editorial Disclosure: Editorial content on The Military Wallet may include opinions. Any opinions are those of the author alone, and not those of an advertiser to the site nor of  The Military Wallet.