If it hasn’t happened to you, it’s probably happened to someone you know. A stolen credit, debit or ATM card turns into a huge financial headache that takes months to sort out. In the best case scenario, you notice the stolen card before any fraudulent transactions occur. You call the card issuer, cancel the account and get on with your life. The worst case scenario is a lot more complex. The stolen card is used quickly and racks up thousands of dollars in transactions before you realize what’s happened. Identity thieves can even set up new accounts in your name if you don’t take prompt action.
Financial Liability for a Stolen Debit or ATM Card
If you report the theft before any unauthorized charges are made, your maximum loss is nothing. Report the theft within two days and the penalty climbs to $50. Reporting more than two days, but less than 60 calendar days after your statement is sent to you increases your liability to $500. If you don’t notice the theft or wait more than 60 calendar days to report it to the card issuer, you’ll lose all the money stolen from your ATM/debit card account and any accounts linked to your debit account. So, what should you do?
- Call the card issuer as soon as you realize your card has been stolen.
- Follow up with an email and certified return-receipt-requested letter providing all pertinent details about unauthorized transactions. Note the dates and times of all correspondences.
- Visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft site to help you determine specific steps needed for your particular situation.
- Place an Initial Fraud Alert.
- Order Your Credit Reports. Be sure to dispute any errors you find on the report and contact the fraud department of each business that reported an error.
- Create an Identity Theft Report.
- Ask credit card reporting companies and businesses to block the disputed information from appearing on your credit reports.
- Read all of your credit, debit and ATM account statements carefully until the situation is resolved.
Online and Mobile banking from The First can help you monitor your accounts anytime, anywhere. Find out more at: http://www.fnbn.com/online-mobile
The easiest way to deal with debit or ATM card theft is to prevent it. Protect yourself by:
- Memorizing pin numbers rather than writing them down.
- Not throwing away expired cards or other sensitive documents without cutting them up or shredding them first.
- Staying on top of your debit and ATM transactions and reporting anything suspicious to the card issuer right away.
Watch The First’s YouTube video, Protecting Yourself from Fraud, for more information.
Have you ever been the victim of identity theft? Let us know how you resolved it in the comments below.