If you’re part of the 75% of college students that have at least one credit card, then you’re probaby careful with protecting it from being stolen. What if all your best efforts fail and your card is stolen? What should you do? How can you minimize its financial impact on you?

I went ahead and found out information that can help you if you’re ever in this stressful situation.  I’ve include contact information to all the major credit card companies to assist you.

Minimize Liability By Reporting the Crime Quickly

The first step after verifying that your card is stolen is calling your credit card company and reporting it. They usually have a 24 hour number you can call. You can use the list below as a reference.

  • MasterCard- 1(800) MASTERCARD /1 (800)627-8372
  • Visa- 1(800)VISA 911/ 1(800) 847-2911
  • Discover- 1(800) DISCOVER/ 1 (800)347-2683
  • American Express- 1(800) 992-3404

Why is it so important to report the card stolen as soon as possible? The Fair Credit Billing Act has provisions that minimize your liability. For example, if you called before any unauthorized charges are made, you are not liable for them. If you call and charges have been made on your card, you’re liable for $50.

When you call the customer service department, the CSR will walk you through the process. Make sure you takes notes on who you spoke to, when you spoke, and what you reported. It usually is not an issue, but if the company comes back later with any questions, you’ll have a record.

There are some questions you should expect to be asked as the represenative handles your case. They include:

  • Name, Address, etc – This is to verify your identity.
  • Account Number – You should have an old credit card statement handy.
  • Last Purchase You Made – They’ll check to see if there are any unauthorized charges already on your card.
  • Date Card Stolen – If you don’t know exactly then explain that you’re giving your best estimate.
  • They’ll cancel your card and mail you a new one. Now that you’ve taken care of your credit card, you now have to protect your credit record and identity.

    File a Police Report

    Many people neglect this, but if you’ve had your credit card stolen, you need to file a police report. When you deal with the credit card agencies and have a fraud alert on your reports, a police report will help you. Here are all the phone numbers for the 3 credit bureaus:

    • Equifax: (800) 685-1111
    • Experian: (888) 397-3742
    • TransUnion: (800) 888-4213

    Keep all your original paperwork and send the agencies copies if they request anything. Please remember to keep good notes on any conversations you have with the agencies.

    Thoughts on Stolen Credit Cards

    I’d like to get your thoughts and advice on stolen credit cards. Have you had your credit card stolen? How did your credit card company handle the situation?