If You Lose Your Credit or Debit Card Only to Find It a Short Time Later, Cancel It Anyway
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If You Lose Your Credit or Debit Card Only to Find It a Short Time Later, Cancel It Anyway

Any time a credit or debit card is out of your possession, you should notify your bank or credit card company immediately

September 18, 2019

Have you ever lost your wallet or purse? Or maybe you've given your credit or debit card to a cashier only to walk away without it? Well, you're not alone. It's happened to pretty much everyone at one time or another. If you lose your credit or debit card only to find it a short time later, you may think nothing more of it. But you really should consider canceling the card and requesting a new one.

Innocent mistake or potential fraud?

Take the following example: You've been working hard all morning long and pop into the local coffee shop for a quick drink. You set your wallet on the counter while holding your cup, slide out your credit card and hand it to the cashier. After the sale and as you are putting away your card, a long-time buddy comes up to you for a quick chat. You then walk away, leaving your wallet on the counter as you walk out the door. No sooner than ten minutes later, you realize your mistake and rush back only to find that one of the courteous shop employees has locked the item in their lost and found.

There's probably nothing to worry about, but there is potential for fraud. The friendly employee likely did nothing wrong. But that employee may have taken a few quick photos of everything you have with a smart phone. Everything from your credit card numbers to social security numbers (which shouldn't be in your wallet anyway) might be in a thief's hands. Something as simple as a briefly lost wallet can easily turn into a lot of hassle and a fraud alert.

thieves want you to think everything is OK

With fraud on the rise, you should have a lot of concerns. Thieves are getting smarter and its taking a lot of effort to stay ahead of them. Many thieves now know that you'll cancel your credit cards immediately and place fraud alerts on your credit files should your items not turn up quickly. So instead, all an unscrupulous person needs to see your information. If your credit cards stay missing, you'll definitely cancel them. If they turn up quickly, thieves know you'll think everything is fine. A few weeks later, you start seeing a lot of unauthorized charges on your credit card statement.

We recommend canceling any cards if they are out of your possession, period

Any time a bank or credit card is out of your possession where you can't see what's happening to it, notify your issuer and cancel it. When possible, avoid letting a waiter leave your sight with your card or pay cash.

Never carry Sensitive personally identifiable information

You should never carry social security cards, birth certificates, important papers and receipts, or checkbooks unless you need them. And if you do need them, guard them carefully. While a credit card can be reissued, other types of sensitive information can't be replaced easily.