Wallet stolen? Do this now! | Crime
(WMC-TV) - I can't emphasize enough how consumers should consider exclusively using credit cards to buy stuff, then pay off the balances immediately.
Under federal law, you're never liable for more than $50 of any disputed charge on your credit card. Most card-issuers offer zero liability now to attract customers. You can't count on that kind of protection if your debit card or cash is stolen.
But if you lose your cash, debit card, credit card, everything -- say, your wallet or purse is stolen -- President/CEO Bill Hardekopf of LowCards.com recommended you rifle through the following process immediately:
* FILE A POLICE REPORT. If possible, file it with the local law enforcement agency where the theft took place. If not, file it with your local police department.
* CONTACT ALL THREE CREDIT REPORTING AGENCIES (EQUIFAX, EXPERIAN, TRANSUNION). Have each bureau place a fraud alert on your accounts/credit reports. Hardekopf said that will force companies issuing new accounts in your name to contact you first for permission.
Those alerts are good for 90 days, but if you can prove you are a victim of identity theft through a police report, Hardekopf said the bureaus can extend the alerts to seven years.
* CLOSE ALL ACCOUNTS THE THEFT MAY HAVE COMPROMISED. Get new accounts with new numbers, and ask each creditor to place fraud alerts on those accounts.
* START MONITORING YOUR CREDIT REPORT. You are entitled by law to a free report from each of the credit bureaus annually. Order one directly from each bureau at www.annualcreditreport.com.
* REPORT YOUR STOLEN DRIVER'S LICENSE TO YOUR STATE'S DEPARTMENT OF SAFETY OR DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES.
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