How To Protect Your New Credit CardsAugust 2, 2011 - 8:36 am
When you apply for a new credit card it can be a good time to remember some simple rules that will help protect you in the event your card should ever go missing. While many thieves do not need to have the physical card to infringe upon your identity, there are still some who prefer to grab your purse or your bag when you are out in public.
Here are some reminders to protect your new credit card as well as your other cards and personal information should criminals target you for their scams:
Make a List for Home
When you receive a new credit card you should add the card number, the credit contact phone number, and any other relevant information to a list of your other accounts. This list should remain locked up safely at home. In the event your bag or wallet is stolen, you have the information you need to report to all of your creditors about the theft in a timely manner. Otherwise, without the list, you are working off your memory and wasting time. This allows the thief a window of opportunity to capitalize on your accounts. Keep the list updated each time you apply and get approved for a new credit card or other type of account.
Prioritize Your Wallet
Instead of carrying a ton of credit cards and other personal information on your personal, choose only the things that are necessary for your wallet. By having only the essentials, you can avoid having to cancel numerous accounts and go through much more red tape if a theft should occur. Never put gift cards and other items that a theft can access once in hand. Only carry what you need for the days errands and for legal reasons such as insurance cards, drivers license, and one emergency credit card. Make a note on your home list of which cards and other information you are carrying in your wallet so you’ll know what you need to report as being stolen.
Your credit card company will ask for information that will allow them to reach you should theft be suspected. Be sure to keep your records updated and receive phone or text alerts when something looks suspicious. The faster your credit card company and other creditors can reach you when something seems wrong, the faster you can get a handle on the matter and prevent illegal use of your identity and other information.
Know Your Rights
While you may never go through a situation where your credit cards and bank cards are stolen, it is still important to be clear on what happens if your cards are stolen. Check the terms and conditions on all of your new credit cards to ensure you understand what, if any, fraudulent charges you will be responsible for paying. Most credit cards will offer protection that prevents you from having to pay a dime provided you report the stolen cards within a 48 hour time period. Credit cards also traditionally offer more consumer protection than bank, debit, and gift cards do.
Never take your safety for granted or assume people will not swipe your purse from a parked car or grocery cart. Keep tabs on your personal belongings and make it a habit to check daily to ensure your wallet and cards are where they belong. The longer you fail to notice something is wrong, the more opportunity you give the criminal to take advantage of your good credit reputation.