According to the Canadian Bankers Association, there were 34,408 reports of stolen credit cards in Canada in 2012, with the average loss per account coming in at $532.52. In this blog, read tips on how to protect yourself against credit card theft, as well as steps to take if you find yourself in this situation.

In the name of preventing credit card theft and its fallout, the following information has been drawn from three sources: the Canadian Bankers Association, Practical Money Skills and the Federal Trade Commission.

Tips on how to protect yourself against credit card theft:

  1. Be discrete. Never share your PIN number or write it down. Don’t choose a PIN that’s easy to guess, such as your birthday. Keep your physical credit cards safe, and always ensure you get them back after making a purchase.
  2. Trust your gut. Be cautious if someone calls, claiming to be from your credit card provider. Sometimes scammers will try to trick you into sharing your private information, such as your PIN, credit card number or the security number on the back of your card.
  3. Check your banking history. Make it a habit to check your bank records on a regular basis to ensure your card hasn’t been compromised.

Steps to take if your credit card has been stolen:

  1. Report the theft. As soon as possible, report your lost or stolen card to your provider (a 1-800 number can be found on the back of your card). They will cancel your card and issue you a new one.
  2. Ensure you won’t miss future payments. Notify companies that you’ve set up automatic payments with the compromised accounts to ensure you won’t miss future payments.
  3. Be alert for identity theftContact one of the two credit reporting agencies operating in BC and place an Initial Fraud Alert on your credit file if you suspect you have been, or are about to be, a victim of identity theft. This is free to do, and it’ll make it harder for an identity thief to open more accounts in your name.

We hope this information has been helpful!

ADDITIONAL READING:

Our top 5 tips for online shopping
How to request a refund from your credit card provider
Are you liable for charges on a lost or stolen credit card?