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Where Did that Credit Card Go?

by Kay Lynn

Sunday morning I was cleaning out my wallet when I noticed an empty credit card slot. Normally there are two personal credit cards in addition to my debit card.  The Costco American Express was not in place.

I’m known for throwing money, credit cards and other items casually in my purse so wasn’t surprised and went to dig through it.  I found the receipt from our lunch Saturday but no card.  I didn’t remember picking up the card or even seeing it when I got the receipt.

Fortunately, the card was at the restaurant and was retrieved after proving I was the person belong to the card.  But what if you can’t find a missing credit card?

Report the Lost/Stolen Card

The first thing you should do if you’re missing a credit card is report it to the credit card issuer.   You should be able to find the card number on a billing statement or your online account.

They’re going to want to know your most recent purchase and date along with the account number and when you noticed the card missing.

Just for the record there were several hours between when  I noticed the card missing and was able to call the restaurant.  I did NOT report it missing to the issuer because I could see online there hadn’t been any activity since lunch the previous day and was 100% certain it was left behind.

Deal with Fraudulent Charges

If someone did steal or find your card be sure they didn’t make any charges.  You are responsible for a maximum of $50 in charges before the loss is reported and nothing afterwards.

However you may have to notify the credit card issuers of charges that are not your own.  It’s always a good idea to review all bills but even more so now.  Make sure all transactions are ones you or an authorized user made.

Prevention is the Best Advice

I could have saved myself some worry, time and gasoline if I had better habits for securing my credit cards.  I went through a similar scare last year when putting a credit card in a jacket pocket instead of my purse.

Make sure you pick up the credit card before anything else whenever it is used.  It’s also a good idea to keep a list of current accounts and contact information in a secure location at home.

When you get replacement cards, immediately destroy the old card.  (I love cutting up credit cards.)  I also separate the bits in separate garbage bags so no one could put them together and come up with the number.

Hopefully, you already have better habits than me but one of these tips might help you through a loss without any stress.  Have you had a credit card stolen or lost?

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle February 13, 2012 at 6:23 am

I’ve had my credit card stolen so many times. It’s horrible. I’m mainly a victim of people at restaurants skimming my number, because I’ve never actually “lost” any of my cards.

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Jon -- Free Money Wisdom February 13, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Wow…that’s terrible. I’ve never had that bad fortune! I’m sorry to hear of your bad experiences. My future father-in-law follows the server to the computer and watches him/her swipe his card. Maybe you should do this when you go out to eat.

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Kay Lynn February 14, 2012 at 6:06 am

Jon, I think the problem is most likely me; not the server. :)

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Jai Catalano February 13, 2012 at 7:38 am

True story I was in Japan and lost my wallet. Everyone said you will get it back the Japanese are honest and will mail it back to you don’t cancel you card. I said sure thing. I went back to the room and canceled it faster than a blink. I never got my wallet back.

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Kay Lynn February 14, 2012 at 5:59 am

Michelle, that’s awful! I had fraudulent charges once when my card got “lost” in the mail but never had the number skimmed.

Jai, unfortunately I think the honesty factor is going down in Japan. My son lived there for a few years and had his backpack stolen from behind his feet while waiting for a train.

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Newlyweds on a Budget February 13, 2012 at 8:19 am

I’ve never had a card stolen or lost, but one time I saw a fraudulent charge online and I had the card in my wallet! It was nuts. I called the bank right away and it was fixed immediately. I just had to sign something proving that I didn’t make the purchase but that totally weirded me out.

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Kay Lynn February 14, 2012 at 6:00 am

One of my son’s had fraudulent charges for an Apple Store location in California and he had the card with him in Florida. They get the number somehow.

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SB @ One Cent at a Time February 13, 2012 at 8:53 am

Even if you don’t remember your card number, just find out the customer service number from internet and call them. They’ll ask a few questions and get your card# from their records. Rporting a stolen/lost card is the first thing to do.

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Kay Lynn February 14, 2012 at 6:01 am

SB, that is true because I don’t usually have my numbers readily accessible. Great advice!

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Thomas - Ways to Invest Money February 13, 2012 at 11:38 am

This actually happen to me in Vegas. I ordered several drinks at a bar and thought I put it in my wallet with the rest of my info. I awoke the next more and couldn’t find it. I am pretty good with placement of things so I remembered the last place I used it and called. Luckily it was there. There were no charges on the card.

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Kay Lynn February 14, 2012 at 6:01 am

Restaurants/bars are used to left-behind cards and are pretty good about handling them. Not to say we don’t have to be more careful…..

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krantcents February 13, 2012 at 11:55 am

I usually keep my wallet out until it is returned. It reminds me that they have my credit card. I have had my credit card number stolen a number of times. It has only cost me time until they replace it.

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Kay Lynn February 14, 2012 at 6:02 am

Krantcents, I love that idea. I will start doing that. No way will I forget the whole wallet (I hope).

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Dr Dean February 13, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Great reminders. We’ve had a purse stolen with everything, and it’s a pain to make sure you’ve got everything covered and cancelled, so a list is a great idea.

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Kay Lynn February 14, 2012 at 6:02 am

Dr. Dean, losing the whole purse/wallet would be a bummer. I would hate just getting everything replaced.

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Mandy February 13, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Don’t think I’ve ever had my card stolen … I’ve had fraudulent charges and I’ve lost cards. I’ve also had the exact same situation as you describe happen.

I like that my current purse has a row of slots for cards so it easy for me to see as soon as I open it that a card is missing. Then I start retracing my steps …

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Kay Lynn February 14, 2012 at 6:03 am

Mandy, that’s why I noticed the next time I had the wallet open. There was that pesky empty slot.

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Marissa @ Thirtys Six Months February 13, 2012 at 2:50 pm

I keep the contact numbers for both on my cards on my cell just incase I need to call in and cancel.

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Kay Lynn February 14, 2012 at 6:04 am

Marissa, that’s a great idea that I plan to implement. It is a great tip for traveling.

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Dannielle @ Odd Cents February 13, 2012 at 5:02 pm

How scary! If I had to lose a credit card, I would have a cow. I also read somewhere about a scam where you’re given back a credit card that’s not yours and by the time you realise it, your card is maxed out. You just have to be very vigilant and careful.

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Kay Lynn February 14, 2012 at 6:06 am

Danielle, I hadn’t heard about that. I would definitely notice if the card was not the Costco AMEX because the design is very noticeable.

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Dannielle @ Odd Cents February 14, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Yes… Crooks are trying everything and anything.

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Shilpan February 13, 2012 at 7:20 pm

I keep a personal diary with credit card numbers. And I keep that diary in the safe box. I only use it if I have to report a stolen card. My card was stolen once. And, by the time I found out on Monday morning, someone had used it for over 20K as the card had over 25K limit. Fortunately, I was able to explain why it took so long for me to report as it was the weekend. And credit card company took care of the loss. A great lesson learned since then to keep eye on my credit card since then.

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Kay Lynn February 14, 2012 at 6:07 am

Shilpan, that person went crazy with your card! I’m glad you were only on the hook for $50 at the most. Sounds like the bank handled it well.

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Ella February 14, 2012 at 12:24 am

It kills me that I might not have noticed if some fraudlent use was charged on my card :-( When I was a shopaholic I used NOT to chck my account online so I wouldn’t even have noticed :-(
But oh well… now I have changed and I check my balance nearly every day so I would definitely see it :-)

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Kay Lynn February 14, 2012 at 6:08 am

Ella, I think the more changes you have the harder it is to notice errors or fraudulent charges. Good job changing your ways…

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Christopher February 14, 2012 at 7:52 pm

I usually find my misplaced card in my wife’s wallet. It is surprising now a days they dont even check the name. My name is Christopher, my wife regularly uses my credit cards and they never ask for anything…no id…nothing….How many women do you know named Christopher?

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Kay Lynn February 15, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Christopher, good point about how the merchants handle cards. They should absolutely question the name on the card. Quesiton for you: Doesn’t your wife have her own cards?

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Christopher February 15, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Funny you should ask. She usually doesn’t carry around her purse and having 2 small children who usually are asleep in the car, she runs into the store while I continue driving around.

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Tyler S. February 14, 2012 at 9:29 pm

I’ve been fortunate enough not to have problems with this, despite making a number of purchases online. It’s important to check out every website to make sure it is trustworthy before you give them any of your personal information. Paying through Paypal is another way to keep your purchases safe.

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Kay Lynn February 15, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Tyler, I think online security is better than brick and mortar stores. What do you think?

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Amanda L. Grossman February 18, 2012 at 12:17 pm

We had a credit card stolen last summer, and close to $2000 was charged. Fortunately we did not owe any of it. Unfortunately, my husband was traveling on business and his card was all he had in the form of payment on him (we still both had the copy of our stolen cards). So they kept shutting down his account and he was denied at every transaction. Such a Hassle!!!

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