If you report the loss before the credit card is used, the card issuer cannot hold you responsible for any unauthorized charges. If a thief uses your credit card before you report it missing, the most you will owe for unauthorized charges is $50 per card. This is true even if the thief uses your credit card at an ATM machine to obtain a cash advance.
As such liability is limited to $50, beware of calls from telemarketers selling "loss protection" insurance. Some telemarketers may falsely claim that you will be responsible for all unauthorized charges made against your account if your credit card is stolen. Don’t buy the pitch and don’t buy the unnecessary insurance.
ATM and Debit Cards
Be aware that ATM and debit cards do not allow the same protections as credit cards. If you fail to report unauthorized charges within a timely manner, you could be held liable for the charges.
- If you report an ATM or debit card missing before it is used without your permission, your financial institution cannot hold you responsible for any unauthorized withdrawals.
- If you report your ATM or debit card lost or stolen within two business days of discovering the loss or theft, your liability is limited to $50.
- If you report your ATM or debit card lost or stolen after the two business days, but within 60 days after a statement showing an unauthorized withdrawal, you can be liable for up to $500 of what a thief withdraws.
- If you wait more than 60 days, you could lose all the money that was taken from your account after the end of the 60 days and before you report the card missing.
Most states hold the bank responsible for the losses from a forged check. However, you may be held liable for the forgery if you do not notify the back in a timely manner that a check was lost or stolen, or if you do not monitor your account statements and promptly report an unauthorized transaction. Contact the major check verification companies (listed below) to request that they notify retailers using their databases not to accept the lost or stolen checks, or ask your bank to notify the check verification service with which it does business.
National Check Fraud Service: 1-843-571-2143
TeleCheck: 1-800-710-9898 or 1-800-927-0188
Equifax Check Systems: 1-800-437-5120
International Check Services: 1-800-526-5380