Consider these smart steps if you suspect your credit card has been compromised.
1. Notify your credit card issuer
If you suspect fraud on your credit card account, contact your card issuer by calling the number on the back of your card. You also can use your phone app to shut down a card. The financial institution will cancel the card and mail you a new one. If you can reset the PIN, choose something new and unique for the new card.
2. Change your passwords
While changing the password for the financial institution that issued your credit card is a priority, also consider changing your passwords for any website where your payment information is stored on your account. Use a unique password for each website and account.
3. Freeze your credit
Request a credit freeze from all three major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You’ll receive a password or PIN connected to your freeze at each credit bureau and instructions to temporarily lift or permanently unfreeze your credit. When your credit is frozen, no one should be able to open new accounts in your name. It also can stop other loans from being completed.
4. Place a fraud alert
If freezing your credit isn’t an immediate option, a fraud alert can be the next best thing. Contact Equifax, Experian or TransUnion to place one for you. For one year, it alerts any potential creditors that you’ve recently experienced fraud, and to verify your identity before opening any new accounts.
5. Monitor your accounts
While your financial institution will keep an eye out for suspicious activity on your accounts, you should look for it, too. Frequently review your account online and check your credit card statements for unfamiliar charges. There is a 60-day limit to report an unfamiliar charge and file a dispute.
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