5 Stages of Having a Credit Card Stolen

Oh! First of the month! AWESOME! It’s bill pay day! Woot! Let me just login to my credit card account and review over the last week’s transactions…


Yeah, this is a true story. And unfortunately, I’m the victim.

I consider myself a pretty good credit card user. For one, I read all of my transactions about once a week. I record charges, check on my interest, question fees and fines. You know, I stay diligent. I even change my password quite frequently and use safeguards on my computer while shopping with the credit card.

But here I am — a victim of a credit card thief.

To be brief, it looks like my credit card number was stolen and not my personal info. All my credit checks show that no one has applied for credit under my name. And the person who bought the Dish Network service used their own name and address, not mine.

(Though let me say that Dish Network has Comcast-level-of-bad customer assistance in terms of fraud. It took me an hour and a half and a lot of choice words to convey that I was not canceling my account but one set up using my card.)

The credit company they bought a subscription through was much friendlier than Dish and even let me know that my name has never been searched for in their system, so that’s reassuring too.

Still, even though the damage is so far minimal, I managed to have a complete meltdown over this. It’s not like life has been easy for us lately. To have someone steal something like a bit of your identity is demeaning and scary.

That is why I am establishing my own version of the stages of grief that are totally appropriate to have when you have a credit card stolen…

5 Stages Having a Stolen Credit Card

1. Shock

I’m pretty sure that when it all came together (and my credit card company verified), I pretty much lost my mind. There may have been a spilt glass of water when they explained that the person used a different zip code than mine to purchase these items.

No one expects to be a victim. Nor do you log in to your financial accounts prepared to see fraud in real life. Once you get over the initial shockwave, you make it on to stage 2…

2. Denial

But I was so careful. There is no way that this could have happened. Maybe my husband signed up for something on accident. Maybe this credit checking system is a fraud itself. Maybe I signed into the wrong account… even though it says my name … and the last four of my social … and my account number…

3. Intense Anger

This is when I began to talk IN ALL CAPS AND USE A TON OF EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!! How dare this lowlife scum use my good credit to purchase subscriptions to crappy cable. Do they not know that I don’t even have cable!?!?! Why do they deserve to watch Real Housewives on my dime when I can’t even justify it!

4. Bargaining

Dear Higher Power: Make this go away. If you do, I promise to only use my credit card for good and to not go shopping in Old Navy clearance racks again! Or, if that does not please you, please let me offer up my first born. She’s a bit of a crier, but she doesn’t cost much (yet) and may have a trade value later in life.

Dear Dish Network: You suck. You really suck. I will promise to never, ever call you again, nor utter your name again if you simply cancel the account set up using my card WITHOUT charging me a cancelation fee. It’s not my account. I swear.

Dear A-hole Who Stole My Card: I have your address. I have your name. I’ve already called the cops and given them your information. There really is no bargaining here. I just want to let you know how screwed you are.

5. ANGER!!!!!!   

Finally, intense anger again. It’s been over 24 hours, and I’ve gone through all the necessary steps. I’ve put a flag on my credit, contacted the police, closed my card, destroyed stolen card, got my credit reports, etc.

But even though I have been through hell and back, I’m still so mad. I’m livid. I feel violated. I feel betrayed. I feel like burning down a house or pillaging a village or something like that. The fact that I can Facebook search the guy who did it makes it even worse.

(this is my new favorite gif ever, btw.)

I know it’s not the end of the world, and that everything that could be done is being done. But that doesn’t mean I won’t repeat any of these stages of having a credit card stolen!

Have you ever had a credit card (or, worse, your identity) stolen? How did you react?

10 comments for “5 Stages of Having a Credit Card Stolen

  1. September 3, 2015 at 6:42 am

    Ughhh I’m so sorry this happened to you! Work those stages!

  2. Brian
    September 3, 2015 at 8:22 am

    I’ve had my credit card stolen. I just reported the transactions in question to Chase and they did the rest and issued me a new credit card. I didn’t even bother contacting the other place since I knew Chase was going to do this on my behalf.

    It does really suck tho.

  3. September 3, 2015 at 10:50 am

    People are horrible! We’ve had our credit card skimmed a few times and I was actually a victim of identity theft as a child.

  4. September 5, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    It’s happened to me twice. Luckily, I caught it immediately while the transactions were still pending. One card was with Chase and the other was through 5th 3rd. Both times I contacted the credit card company and they took care of it immediately. It was easy peasy really. Of course, I was mad too but it wasn’t a hassle.

    I can’t begin to imagine the hassle you got from Dish Network though!

  5. September 5, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    That is so annoying! I’ve had my debit card info stolen a couple of times and I just dealt with my bank to take care of the transactions. It sucks that someone stole your card, but at least you have the info of the idiot so the police can follow up. What a moron!

  6. September 5, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    I haven’t had this credit card stolen. But, when I do, now I know the first steps to take. Thanks Michelle for sharing this experience. I know this is really annoying to you. Be more careful next time.

  7. September 7, 2015 at 11:42 am

    I always find it odd that people’s credit card info gets stolenn but that’s the very reason people advocate using credit cards. I wonder if there’s a reason why it’s much more likely to have credit card info stolen than debit card info…? I have never had a credit card – I only use a debit card (I always process as credit so I have the same protections as if it were a credit card), and fortunately, I’ve never had any info stolen. One piece of advice I always give is to pay close attention to your accounts so if it is stolen you can take action quickly.

  8. September 7, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Somebody used our debit card number for a purchase at Walmart once. Luckily, the bank took care of it for us.

    I can’t believe the idiot used his/her own name and address!

  9. September 8, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    I was angry because I had to change all of my fixed payments. I forgot to cover one and it looked like my credit card bounced.

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