Lending Club Blog

The Pleasure of Having My Credit Card Stolen

A stolen credit card is supposed to be a catastrophic event, but was more like a minor nuisance when it happened to me recently. It would have been better had it not occurred, but the experience was much less painful than I would have imagined.

It all started with an automated call from someone supposedly from my credit card company’s fraud department. Irregular charges had flagged their attention. Since they called me, rather than the other way around, I was reluctant to give out any personal information. Instead I hung up and logged onto my account online. There were about a half dozen pending transactions, none of which I had made. I logged off and called the customer service number on the back of my card.

Once I went through all the steps to verify my identity (they required more than the usual verification questions since my account had been flagged), the fraud department started listing the charges they thought might have been irregular. They caught each and every purchase made by someone else, and none of the ones made by me. I wasn’t worried about being liable for the charges (as I’ve covered previously, as long as you report fraudulent charges as soon as you know of them, you’re liable for at most $50), but it was still nice that those transactions were immediately removed from my account.

My credit card was then cancelled and a new one will be mailed out within a few days. They were even willing to expedite the shipping, if necessary. I will also be receiving an affidavit that I’ll sign to officially swear that I didn’t make the fraudulent purchases. With the affidavit in hand, my credit card company can investigate the fraudulent use and hopefully find whoever is responsible.

The only other action required on my part was to change how a few of my bills are paid. I have some bills automatically charged to my credit card, so I needed to update those accounts to be paid through an alternative method. I’ll also monitor my credit and other accounts very closely in the coming months to ensure that my credit card number was the extent of the theft.

The entire ordeal took less than 30 minutes to resolve and required very little effort on my part. I’ve heard many complaints about the customer service at Bank of America but wanted to offer that in this case, they couldn’t have been more helpful. I do most of my banking with them (credit card, checking and savings, and mortgage) and have always found them to be excellent for my needs. Your needs will dictate the best bank for your own situation, but the way Bank of America handled my stolen credit card (and all of my other banking needs) reaffirms that they’re the perfect choice for me. Again, having your credit card stolen is not a pleasant experience, but for me it was nothing more than a minor inconvenience.

Have you had an easy (or difficult) stolen credit card experience?

Monday, February 2nd, 2009 at 10:09 am

Comments (5)

  1. Mike:

    I had a similar experience with my MINI credit card. Several
    relatively small charges were incurred overseas, and their software
    picked up on the unusual activity right away. They left several
    messages on my voice mail, and when I called them, it was a very
    straightforward process to close that account, get credit for the
    charges that did go through, and obtain a new card. I guess this
    happens so often now that customer service reps get plenty of
    practice with this situation.

    February 2nd, 2009 at 3:23 pm

  2. Thank you, Mike, for your post. Although identity theft is a total
    nightmare, it is NOT credit card fraud and it’s important for
    people to know that it just isn’t that difficult to deal with
    fraudulent charges on a credit card. Those of us with e-commerce
    web sites grow weary of hearing people say they were a “victim” of
    credit card fraud. They lost nothing but a little time. Any time
    those fraudulent charges were made on line, it’s the merchant, not
    the bank that eat all the losses. On-line merchants loose their
    product and shipping charges, and they are ‘fined’ for accepting
    the card – anywhere from $15-$40.

    February 3rd, 2009 at 4:34 am

  3. This is the exact reason why I mainly use credit cards and leave my
    debit card at home unless I expect to need cash at an ATM.

    February 3rd, 2009 at 11:08 am

  4. James:

    To avoid having to change numbers with auto-pay institutions, try
    using VISA’s ShopSafe. It allows you to generate disposabal credit
    card numbers for online transactions. BoA offers this with most, if
    not all of their VISA credit cards. I believe, even if your card is
    stolen, the “account” ShopSafe is linked to remains the same. So
    even if they re-issue a card with a new number, the ShopSafe
    numbers remain the same.

    February 6th, 2009 at 7:15 am

  5. @Mike: I’ve been hearing about many different card issuers
    resolving fraud in a straightforward manner. Thanks for adding your
    experience. @Tom: There is certainly a huge difference between
    identity theft and credit card fraud. You’re right that retailers
    are often the ones left holding the bill. @John: Other than cash
    from an ATM, I only use my debit card at Sam’s Club, since they
    don’t take Visa credit cards. @James: I’ll be covering temporary
    credit card numbers, like ShopSafe, in an upcoming post. Looking at
    the terms, they do cancel ShopSafe numbers when your card is
    stolen, which makes sense.

    February 10th, 2009 at 9:12 am

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