3 things you should do immediately if your credit card is compromised.

By Mark Leary, chief information security officer, Xerox

You received a security alert from your credit card company, or you found a fraudulent charge on your credit card’s statement. It now appears that your credit card information was compromised.  What do you do next?

MazeCancel your credit card: Contact your financial institution. No matter what the details ultimately reveal, this is the first and safest course of action. Don’t forget to contact all businesses where you have automatic payments on that card. The good news is that cancelling your credit card shouldn’t lower your credit score in this situation.

Be vigilant with your account: Check your account activity at least every few days and keep an eye out for any unfamiliar transactions. It’s especially important to look for small transactions which are not yours. It’s common for those with stolen credit cards to test cards before making larger purchases. If you notice anything fishy, notify your credit card company immediately. Fraud is a real-time crime, and consumers have to be constantly engaged.

Pull Your Credit Report. This is something that you should be doing on a yearly basis, but you should take special care to make sure to do it if there has been any chance that your credit card information has been compromised. You’re allowed to see your credit report at no cost from the three main credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) each year through the site AnnualCreditReport.com. In addition, if your credit card information has been compromised, you are also allowed to access your credit report for free to look for fraudulent activity. Once you get your credit reports, thoroughly examine them to see if there are any discrepancies or unauthorized activity. If you find anything, immediately report this to the credit agency so that it can be corrected.

Links to More Information

12 Tips to Secure your Credit Card: While it’s impossible to guarantee you won’t be the victim of credit card fraud, you can protect yourself. Here are 12 smart ways you can secure your credit card information and purchases.

Microsoft Safety & Security Center: Practical security tips for you and your family, useful resources and links, and a forum for you to provide feedback and ask security-related questions.

StaySafeOnline.org: From the National Cyber Security Alliance, which seeks to educate a digital society to use the Internet safely and securely at home, work and school.

Stop. Think. Connect: A national public awareness campaign sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The campaign seeks to help the American public understand cyber threats, and empower the public to be safer and more secure online.