If someone steals your debit card, the federal government provides protection through the Fair Credit Billing Act and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act. Because of the potential for fraudulent transactions after debit card loss or theft, banks provide customers with methods for reporting the security issue.

Step 1

Check your bank account paperwork to find the after-hours telephone number for reporting card theft. If you can’t find the telephone number in your banking paperwork, go to your bank’s website to find it or call your bank's general telephone number to see if a recorded message provides the number you need.

Step 2

Contact your bank by calling your bank's after-hours telephone number and report the theft of your debit card. Most banks use an automated system to enable you to enter your account number to make the report. Another alternative for reporting the theft involves going to your bank's website and logging in to your online banking account. After logging in to your account, navigate to the page that enables you to report the card stolen and deactivate your debit card.

Step 3

Determine what your last transaction with your debit card was and make a note of this for reporting purposes. You may need to give the bank this information when you speak with a representative during business hours.

Step 4

Call your bank as soon as possible on the next business day to follow up on your theft report. Verify the last transaction on the debit card to determine whether fraudulent activity occurred. If transactions occurred that you did not authorize or initiate, indicate the fraudulent transactions. If you reported the theft before any transactions occur, you will have zero responsibility. Reporting the theft within two business days of discovering the theft places your maximum responsibility at $50, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Reporting the theft between two and 60 calendar days after noticing the theft bumps your responsibility up to $500.