Do Police Investigate Credit Card Theft? What To Do In Case You Become A Victim!

Credit Card Theft

Police rarely investigate credit card theft due to the nature of the crime. Credit card companies and banks are willing to write off money stolen through fraudulent activities; thus, few cases are reported. Plus, being a non-violent crime, police do not prioritize, and even if they do, some happen overseas, which is beyond their control. 

Credit card theft and fraud happen quite often, and if you have fallen victim, you are one in a million. The question is, should you report to the police? And, when you do, are they going to investigate.

Read on to know why police rarely investigate credit card theft, what to do if your card is stolen, and ways of keeping it safe. 

Why Do Police Rarely Investigate Credit Card Theft?

We have said earlier that police rarely investigate credit card theft. The reason being:

The Crime Is Seldom Reported

People rarely report credit card theft to the police as the issuers normally take up the issue. Mostly, your credit card company will block your account number and issue you with a new card. And in case there is fraudulent activity, you are only liable for up to $50, which is most homeowner’s insurance coverage. 

Again, the amount that is involved can be small, making investigation costly. Credit card companies and banks can even opt to bear the liability or force merchants or retailers involved to take the loss.

Credit Card Theft Is A Non-Violent Crime

Most of the cases involving credit card theft are non-violent; thus, police do not prioritize. It is not that the fraud is not serious, but with the little resources and so much work to be done, the police channel their energies to deal with grave issues. Besides, even if the theft warrants an investigation, some large-scale fraud involving people oversees beyond police jurisdiction. 

Credit Card Theft Majorly Has An International Dimension

Rarely do credit card thieves use a credit card for the local transaction as they fear easy tracking. The issue occurs on a large scale and can only be handled by the American secret service. However, you cannot report personal to the agency. The best is to report to your credit card company which would then forward to the relevant authority. 

Should You Report Credit Card Theft To The Police?

After we have said police rarely investigate credit card theft, you might be tone between reporting and not reporting the issue. 

Despite not being violent, credit card theft is a crime. Therefore, you should always report to the police if you become a victim. 

Reporting to police help keep a record of the crime and address the issue, and if not, give you alternative ways. If credit card theft becomes a recurring concern, the police will be forced to prioritize and develop laws to stop the crime in the future. 

Steps To Follow In Case Of A Credit Card Theft

If you lose your credit card or gets stolen, you might think of reporting it to the police. Though it helps, unfortunately, police rarely investigate the cases. To be on the safe side, follow the highlighted steps below:

Step 1: Inform Your Credit Card Issuer

In case your card is stolen or lost, call your credit card issuer immediately. Since you do not have the card, check their phone number online or your credit card statement. 

Alternatively, you can walk to any of your bank’s branches to file your issue or do it through their website. 

If you report before any fraudulent transactions are made, you won’t bear any liability.  But, if charges are already made, you’ll pay at most $50, with the rest being bone by the bank through their insurance company. 

Can Credit Card Companies Track Who Used My Credit Card?

Yes, credit card companies can track your credit card once the person who stole uses it. They can check when and where the card was last used. This is possible as the card processing is predetermined—the store clerk receives the card and uses a reader to send information to the processing company. 

As they check whether there is enough balance to transact, the information on the amount charged, location, and store where the transaction took place is recorded. This way, the credit card company can pull the data in case of fraud.

The card issuers and stores can also use the transaction statements to track credit cards. However, law enforcement can get the information long after the transaction, making it difficult to arrest the person involved. 

Who Pays When A Credit Card Is Used Fraudulently?

Most fraudulent activities on the card happen through eCommerce transactions. Of course, when it is a card-present (CP) transaction, the merchant can verify the buyer’s identity by asking for additional documents such as a driving license. In case of fraudulent CP operation, the merchant is liable if he did not follow due diligence. 

If the merchant followed the required procedure and the later transaction is deemed fraudulent, the liability rest on the card issuer.

For the card, not present (CNP) transactions, meaning the buyer is not doing the transactions physically, the liability is totally on the merchant. 

Step 2: Gather All Information Needed To Verify Your Identity

Before your credit issuer can act on your case, they will need to verify your identity. They will be interested in your social security number, address, and name.

The issuer will also want to know when you made your last transaction and when your card got lost. They will then review the latest transactions to see if there are any fraudulent activities. 

They will then block the card and issue you with a new one with a different account number. Remember to update your mobile wallet if it was included as a means of payment in the lost card.

Replacing your stolen card does not in any way affect your credit score or credit report. Do not forget to update your vendors on the new card details if you have automatic payment on the old card. 

To avoid any implications on your credit card, you may make manual payments to the vendors as you wait for them to update your information.

Step 3: Follow Up And Ensure You Keep Records

Your credit card issuer might be dealing with so many cases; it is good to send them a reminder through email or letters. Include the following:

1. When and how you filed your loss 

2. Date and time your card was stolen

3. Your account number 

Step 4: Keep Checking On Your Credit Card Statement

After reporting the case, keep monitoring your credit card statement. If you notice any unfamiliar or fraudulent activity, notify your credit card issuer at once.

Step 5: Check Your Insurance Policies

Some rent and homeowner’s insurance cover cater for liability in case of credit card theft. While federal law limits your liability to $50, you would want to check whether your insurance would cover that. 

If not, consider insuring your cards against loss as a precaution if you fall victim again. Note that some credit card companies offer zero liability in case of theft, and in such insuring your card may not be necessary.

How To Prevent Credit Card Theft

Your credit card can land on unauthorized hands in so many ways. You might leave it at the checkout counter, lose your wallet with it, or can slip it out of your purse. 

As the police might not do much to help, it is best to prevent theft by following our suggestions below.

1. Carry only the cards that you need to use on a particular day

2. Always keep your credit card safely in your purse or wallet. Please do not change this by slipping it elsewhere.

3. Tear into pieces any old credit card, ensuring you cut through your account number.

4. Always check through your credit card statement as you get it. If you detect suspicious activity, report to your card company as soon as possible.

5. Never share your credit card information through a phone call unless you initiated it.  

6. Keep your credit card account numbers a secret. Some thieves do not need to steal the card to conduct fraudulent activities using your identity. For some, your account number is their enabling tool.

7. If you use your credit card in suspicious places, keep an eye on your transactions henceforth.

8. Record your credit card details in a safe location. Include the telephone number of the issuers, expiry dates, and the account number. In case of theft, you will be able to call your card company and give out the correct information

Final Thought 

‘Prevention is better than cure.’ The say is applicable in credit card transactions. It is always best to try your best not to be a victim of credit card theft, as police rarely investigate the crime. And when they do, sometimes the issue is beyond their jurisdiction. Always be careful where you use your card and check your statements keenly to detect any suspicious activity as soon as they happen.

Last Updated on August 19, 2021 by Musa D

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