Credit card theft, and the associated identity theft, are a potential problem for anyone using a credit card—whether for business or personal use. It can be particularly problematic for a small business owner trying to maintain a good credit profile. If you discover your credit card has been stolen or identify unauthorized charges to your card, don’t delay taking action. Courtney Jespersen at Nerdwallet suggests these five steps to minimize the damage and take control:
- Act Quickly: You don’t have to physically lose your card to be in trouble. The instant you see any suspicious activity, call the issuer of the card. They will immediately suspend your account and issue you a new card with a new number, “…but don’t worry—this won’t reflect on your credit report as you opening a new account,” says Jesperson. You’ll be given the opportunity to go through a detailed statement to verify any other suspicious charges. If you’re regularly going through your credit card statement, there shouldn’t be too many.
- Update Your Information: To make certain the information for your new card is correct, log into your account and verify your contact information as well as your current address and phone number.
- Stay Secure: Just in case the hacker, or whoever took your credit card information, has accessed your other personal online accounts, change your passwords so no one buy you can log into your accounts. “Also,” suggests Jesperson, “keep in mind that you’ll want your credit card account password to be different fromthat of your other accounts so hackers can’t access all aspects of your identity.”
- Change Payments: If you have automated payments coming from your credit card, you’ll need to make sure and update those accounts to avoid late charges. “You can always go back and update your preferred payment method again once you receive your new card,” she says.
- Be Vigilant: Once you’ve completed all these steps, you still need to stay on top of things. Regularly review your credit card statements for any suspicious charges.
Ask your card provider what type of fraud protection they offer on credit card charges. Some don’t expect you to pay anything for fraudulent charges you report while others might charge you $50. The good news is that you won’t be holding the bag for all the charges on your card.