If you’ve ever lost a credit card, you know the feeling of panic that sets in once you discover your card is missing. And if you’ve ever found a credit card, you probably want to help the card’s owner by keeping the lost card out of the wrong hands.
There are a number of actions you can take when you find a lost credit card, and some are better than others. Take a look:
If you find a lost card in a parking lot or grocery store aisle, your first thought may be to turn it in to a cashier or the customer service counter. Most of the time, they will put the card in the lost and found or hold it in case someone comes to claim it. This will help keep the card out of the general public's reach and reduce the chances it will be picked up and used fraudulently.
However, turning a card in to a store doesn't always remove the risk to the cardholder. It is very easy for employees to write down a card number or keep it for their own use.
Unless you find an entire wallet or purse, it's not necessary to turn a lost card in to your local police station. Most police stations and personnel are overloaded with more serious cases and don't have the time or resources to track down the owner of a lost credit card.
The internet and social media make it easier than ever to track people down. Even though you have good intentions, this is the last thing you should do for a number of reasons. First of all, there's no way of really knowing whether you're contacting the right person. If the card was already used fraudulently, you could be called and questioned about it. It can also be a hassle (and even a danger) to meet someone you don't know just to give them a lost card. In all likelihood, the owner of the card has already reported it lost or missing anyway, so the card will probably already have been deactivated.
This option helps protect the cardholder (assuming the card hasn't already been used fraudulently and discarded) while keeping you anonymous. If possible, shred the card instead of throwing it in a trashcan or dumpster. Shredding is the safest way to destroy anything, credit cards included, and prevents thieves from getting access to the card's numbers.
All credit cards have a 1-800 number on the back for reporting lost or stolen cards. When you call to report the card, the credit card company will take down the info on the card and deactivate it. They will also contact the cardholder and inform them that their card has been found.
If you want to honestly help when you find a lost credit card, calling the 1-800 number is the best option. This keeps the card out of the wrong hands and allows the credit card company to take the appropriate steps.