How to Handle Credit Card Fraud While Traveling
A stolen credit card can become more than just an inconvenience while abroad. If a stolen credit card number goes unchecked, travelers can find their credit limit immediately decreased, leading to denied charges while abroad. How can travelers protect their personal information in the event their credit card numbers are stolen? Before a stolen card becomes a major problem, be sure to follow these steps.
Travelers who notice their credit card is stolen while abroad should file a crime report with local authorities. In the report, travelers need to recount everywhere they used their credit card, with a special focus on the first place they noticed their card was gone. Once a report is completed, be sure to retain a copy for personal records. If you’re unsure of how to file a crime report in your current country, contact the local for assistance.
By filling out a crime report, travelers can make sure local authorities can track the situation for statistical purposes, as well as documenting the potential loss you incurred as a result of the crime. If a physical card was not stolen, but only the number was stolen instead, travelers can skip down to the next step: contacting their bank.
Contact Your Issuing Bank
The next step is to contact the credit card’s issuing bank to alert them of the situation. In some cases, the credit card issuer become aware of the fraud and contact cardholders.
In any event, many credit card companies will accept collect call charges to report a lost or stolen credit card.
During this phone call, be prepared to go over your recent transactions and point out which are fraudulent. If you believe your credit card was stolen, you may be asked to provide a copy of the crime report. Taking this step can stop the credit card number before further damage can be done, and can prevent any new fraudulent charges from appearing.
Put a Hold on your Credit Reports
With a little information, a credit thief can turn one stolen credit card into multiple fraudulent applications. However, control of an identity is the most powerful weapon to prevent credit card and identity theft.
For those concerned about identity theft, there are steps travelers can take no matter where they are in the world. One of the easiest steps is to put a security freeze on credit reports. A security freeze is a free service offered by the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Trans Union, and Experian), and prevents access to credit reports for new account opening. By authorizing a security freeze as a temporary measure, travelers can stop future credit fraud from happening.
Contact your Travel Insurance Provider
In certain situations, travel insurance may extend benefits for credit card fraud and identity theft, helping travelers in an emergency. Should a credit card number get stolen, be sure to check if a travel insurance plan offers identity theft benefits. If so, the next call should be to the travel insurance provider.
Though nobody expects credit card fraud to happen, there are steps travelers can take to stop the problem before it gets out of hand. By identifying the situation early and taking calculated steps, tr, you’ll be able to prevent a whole lot of problems later.