What To Do If Someone Uses Your Credit Card?

Credit card fraud can happen through internet shopping, in-person purchases or even through a money transfer. This blog post will guide you through some basic yet key information to keep handy in case you or anyone you know needs to know what to do if someone uses your credit card. We will discuss the types of credit card fraud to understand what really happens when your credit card is used by someone else without your permission so that you may be able to avoid such situations. In the end, we will review some pointers on how one can prevent credit card fraud by remaining careful about the information we share.

What To Do If Someone Uses Your Credit Card?

The first and immediate action you must take after realising that someone has used your credit card is to call your credit card company and inform them of what has happened so that your credit card can be blocked by them and no further transactions can be conducted.

Your next step should ideally be to inform Action Fraud of the incident. You can choose to use their online tool or call on their helpline at  0300 123 2040.

It may also be wise to check and change your passwords and PINs not only on any other credit or debit card but also on email addresses as well especially if you have been using a shared or public laptop or computer.

While these are immediate steps to be taken in case of your credit card is stolen, you may need to continue monitoring your bank statements for the next few weeks or even months. You will also need to consider whether you have shared your credit card details with anyone and make sure not to repeat this in the future. 

Under normal circumstances, credit card holders are not held liable for the fraudulent transactions held through their card. The reason for this is the protection granted to them under the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

Once a credit card owner reports fraudulent activity on their card to their bank, they will aim to return the amount to the victim at the earliest possible while the bank continues with the investigation.

If your credit card was either lost or stolen, as the owner you will be liable for the first £50 unless you report it immediately after the card is misplaced or stolen.

However, if your credit card was used for any of the following types of purchases, you may not have the right to your money back automatically:

  • Payment of rental agreements
  • Sale of land or building
  • Financial services that include insurance and banking
  • Purchases through vending machines or auctions

What Are The Types Of Credit Card Fraud?

Credit card fraud involves using someone’s credit card or the credit card details to make a purchase or to transfer money from their credit account. According to independent research credit card fraud accounts for 39% of identity theft cases in the UK.

Credit card fraud can be classified into the following types: 

  • The owner has lost their card or it was stolen from them. Later the credit card was used without their permission to make a purchase or transfer money.
  • The credit card has been “skimmed” while being used by the owner. This occurs when a duplicate card is made by swiping the original credit card during a regular transaction while making a copy of it.
  • “Card Not Present” fraud during which credit card details including card number, cardholder name, date of birth and address are stolen from the internet while the owner was using it. This information is then sold out.
  • Applying for a new credit card using someone else’s personal details without their knowledge.

If you suspect that you have faced any of these situations you should inform your bank. Additionally, you can also inform Action Fraud; UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime.

How Can I Avoid Being A Victim Of Credit Card Fraud?

In order to make sure that you are not a victim of credit card fraud, you will need to be vigilant whenever you make a credit card transaction in person or online.

Additionally, you may find following the below advice useful as well:

  • Whenever you need to make a credit card payment, make sure that your card stays in sight and is swiped in your presence so that it cannot be tampered with.
  • Don’t share PIN codes or passwords with anyone; even if you know them very well.
  • When a credit card expires, make sure you cut it into pieces slicing through the magnetic strip and chip.
  • Keep your computer and mobile software up to date, avoid saving passwords and financial information in them and keep changing your password regularly.
  • When making online payments, double-check the company’s credibility before making any transaction.
  • Do not use public WIFI while making online transactions as there is a strong likelihood of your data being leaked through them. 
  • Use secure websites not just for transactions but also for internet browsing.
  • Be careful about disposing of posts and make sure to tear out details regarding your name and address.
  • Be careful about sharing personal information on social media; even something as basic as your date of birth can provide information to have a duplicate credit card made in your name.


While it may appear as a shock initially when someone realises that their credit card has been used without their knowledge or permission; however, it comes as a relief knowing that credit card owners are not held liable for transactions that take place under credit card fraud. That said, one must remain alert in such situations and immediately inform their bank and Action Fraud so that the damaging effects of fraudulent transactions can be minimised.  

FAQs: What To Do If Someone Uses Your Credit Card?

Do police investigate credit card theft?

No, the police are not required to investigate credit card theft. This comes under the responsibility of the bank; while in certain circumstances credit card holders also lodge a complaint with Action Fraud as well.

Is it a crime to use someone else credit card?

Unless the credit card owner grants explicit permission to use their card, using someone else’s credit card is illegal and considered fraud. It is an act punishable by law.

Do banks refund stolen money?

Generally speaking, banks refund money stolen during credit card fraud. However if there is evidence of the credit card owner displaying negligence in losing the card or sharing personal details and putting their financial data at risk, banks have the prerogative not to refund the stolen money.

Will my bank refund me if I get scammed?

Banks are usually known to refund money taken through scams or fraud but you must inform your bank as soon as you realise that you have been scammed.

Can you track who used your credit card online?

Credit card companies can track where a stolen credit card was used whether online or in person. However, it does not guarantee that the person who used your credit card will be located accurately.


What is credit card fraud and how can I prevent it?

Your payment card was used without your permission – distance sales – Citizens Advice

Credit and Debit Card Fraud Protection | Visa

Credit card fraud