There may come a time when you realise that your chequebook or debit card has been stolen or lost. It is important to act quickly as soon as you make this realisation so that you will not be held liable for any money that the thief decides to spend from your account.
Here are five things you need to do once you find out your chequebook or wallet is stolen, according to www.thebalance.com:
- Call your bank and freeze your account:
You need to call your bank and put a freeze on your account. Generally, a freeze will only last 24 hours. This will temporarily stop all cheques and debit transactions from going through. As a result, you may have items that you have already paid for (such as your rent) that do not clear the bank as a result of the freeze. This is different from putting a stop payment on just one cheque. You need to take the next steps in order to allow the items that need to be paid for to go through.
- Gather information about your transactions:
Gather up information such as old statements, your chequebook ledger or a computer printout of your recent transactions and recent receipts to take with you to the bank. These items will help you and your customer service representative decide which items to allow to clear. The sooner you gather these items, the more quickly you can choose which items are safe from your bank. This is an important step since it can shorten the amount of time you will need to spend at the bank.
- Close your current account:
Visit your bank to close your account and to open a new one. Be prepared to be at the bank for awhile. The customer service representative will sit down with you and make a list of items that you will allow to clear your old account. This will include the items that you have gathered above.They will then open a new account for you. This is the best way to prevent any money from being stolen from you.
- File a police report:
This is only necessary if you are sure that the chequebook was stolen. If you just misplaced the chequebook, and you are closing the account as a preventative measure, you can skip this step. This report is necessary if you end up dealing with identity theft. It should not take too long to file the report, but you can use the same report if your credit cards were taken as well.
- Deal with automatic debits and deposits:
Be sure to transfer your direct deposit over as well. You may also have automatic transfers and your customer service representative can help you decide if you need to close and reopen your savings account too.
You will need to follow similar steps if your credit cards are stolen. It is important to contact each bank as quickly as possible.
You should also watch for debit card transactions that you did not authorise. Debit and credit card numbers are often stolen with skimmers.
The transactions can happen all over the country while you still have your card on you. Many banks will allow you to check pending transactions and you may be able to stop the transaction before it happens.
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