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Debit Card Theft: What To Do
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Debit Card Theft: What To Do

Losing a debit card hurts in any situation, but if you're quick to respond to the problem, it can rapidly escalate into a nightmare. In this article, I'll tell you exactly what to do if you suspect debit card theft.

Call Your Bank ASAP

If you think your debit card has been stolen, or perhaps even in you simply misplaced your wallet, you should call your bank immediately and have the card canceled. If you remember the very last transaction that you placed on the card yourself, that will help your bank determine which transactions are legitimate and which are potentially fraudulent.

Write Everything Down

Make sure that you write down every single thing that happens when you initially contact you bank, as you will need to have documentation in the unlikely event that there is a dispute later.Losing a debit card can be a very painful process, and dealing with a bank that is uncooperative can be even worse. As long as everything is in writing you should be in much better shape.

Contact a Credit Bureau

Another thing you may want to do is contact one of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion, and tell them to place a fraud alert on your account. This will inform potential creditors that they need to be extra careful when dealing with your credit file because it's quite likely that fraudulent activity is possible.

Most banks are quite understanding when it comes to debit card theft or a misplaced wallet, and you can generally get a new card shipped to you within a week. However during that week, it's important that you carry enough cash to handle anything that might come up.

Identity Theft Is Serious Business

Every year in the United States alone, it's estimated that over nine million people are victims of identity theft, although only around 250,000 are ever reported to the FTC. Worldwide estimates are much higher, and the dollar amount lost every year for victims is in the tens of billions. Debit card theft is only one of the many ways that criminals perpetrate identity theft, however, but it's also one of the easiest ways for thieves to score some cold hard cash quickly.

Becoming a victim of identity theft is not something you want to experience. If you suspect that your card is being used fraudulently, you should contact the bank, the police, the credit bureaus, and the FTC in that order. You may also want to consider signing up for an identity fraud protection service or a credit monitoring service. These programs will help you prevent a lot of damage that may occur if any of your cards are lost or stolen.


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