Have you ever felt that paralyzing fear that comes from discovering that your wallet has gone missing? It becomes even scarier when you have all your financial details in form of credit and debit cards, their pins and other bank account details written in tiny pieces of paper in corners of your wallet.
This is a common occurrence. According to the 2015 Identity Theft Study by Javelin Strategy & Research, a new person became the victim of identity theft every two seconds in the USA in 2014. And now with easier access to banking via online platforms, victims of stolen identity have to act faster than ever before, if they want to stop thieves from taken their money.
If you are familiar with the scenario painted above, there are a few steps that you should take in any event that you ever lose your financial details to unscrupulous people.
Contact your financial institution
You may have panicked, but what is better than panicking is to quickly alert your financial institution about the loss. A person in possession of all or some of your financial details can easily make purchases from your cards, transfer money from your account, or worse, change your financial details such as pin codes. The latter will give them total control on all your finances.
The bank can help place a restriction on your account such that no withdrawal is allowed, and also deactivate your cards.
Change all sensitive information
As soon as your bank is aware of the possible theft of your financial details, it is a good idea to secure all electronic access to your accounts or cards. Change all passwords, passcodes, memorable information, and secret questions. Go for passwords that do not relate to your name or that of anyone associated with you. Remember, whoever has your wallet, phone or bag can easily find more information that relates to you and your family. It is advisable to choose alphanumeric passwords that are long and harder to guess.
Log a report with the police
In cases of identity theft, victims have been known to be landed in trouble by transactions carried out by the fraudsters. In many cases, these transactions are fraudulent and can lead to arrests. It is important to make a complaint to the police, and get a report of the incident. That can serve as proof to your financial institution. It can also help in the event that you check your credit report and find unfamiliar transactions that the fraudster may have one without your knowledge.
Check your credit report
One of the leading causes of dispute in credit history is unfamiliar transactions. People check their credit history and find bank accounts that they never operated, or transactions that they were not aware of. Quite often, these transactions were carried out by people who have stolen their financial details. This can have a huge negative impact on your credit history, and affect your chances of getting a loan. That is why it is important to check your credit history frequently after you have lost your card details.
Improve security measures
If you have been proactive, you can get away with no loss to your money, even after your card or bank details have been stolen. As a measure to prevent future occurrences, it is safe to be as careful as possible, especially with your financial details. Do not store bank details, passwords, or memorable information in the same place as your cards or bank token. Even if you do need to write down these information, or save it in your phones, do so in such a way that only you can interpret what the information is meant for.
Have you ever lost your ATM card or other financial details? How did you prevent your money from being stolen?
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