If you have ever lost your purse or wallet, you know the sense of panic it can create. Today, most people carry half of their lives in their wallet. ID cards, insurance information, debit and credit cards, money – everything is in this. If all this information falls into the wrong hands, it can wind up being devastating.
If you have never lost your wallet or purse before, you’re lucky; however, knowing what to do can be quite beneficial. Some of the things you should do after losing your wallet or purse are found here.
- 1 Lost or Only Misplaced?
- 2 Call Your ATM, Debit, and Credit Card Issuers
- 3 Put a Credit Freeze or Fraud Alert on Accounts
- 4 Report the Theft or Loss to the Local Authorities
- 5 Report Your Driver’s License as Missing at the DMV
- 6 Order a Credit Report
- 7 Make a List of Everything that was in the Wallet
- 8 If Your Social Security Card is Missing, Call the Agency
- 9 Ways to Prepare Prior to Losing Your Wallet
Lost or Only Misplaced?
Prior to automatically assuming that your wallet is gone, you should make sure it is not just misplaced. Look everywhere – at work, in the car, and at home. If you have scoured all around, then be sure to call some of the places you recently visited. If you lost it at a shop, store or even the gym, it may have been found and turned in.
However, if it is in fact gone, then taking action is a must. Waiting to do this can cost you quite a bit in the long run.
Call Your ATM, Debit, and Credit Card Issuers
There are some who will tell you that right after your wallet goes missing, you want to cancel all your cards. However, this is not the best course of action. If you cancel all your cards then it can create a huge mess and even affect your credit score.
What you should do is to call and report the cards as being stolen or lost. This is different than canceling because the card issuer will suspend the numbers and keep your money safe.
If you have cards issued by a credit union or bank, be sure to call them, too. If there are checks, which include traveler’s checks, in your wallet, they can take care of it all.
Once that is done, you should make sure that you get new cards sent to you as quickly as possible with new numbers. If there were any cards used for an automatic debit, then be sure to inform the companies within a few days. If you fail to do this it may cause you to be late on payments.
Put a Credit Freeze or Fraud Alert on Accounts
There are three main credit-reporting agencies – Trans Union, Equifax, and Experian. They need to be made aware of your loss immediately. When a fraud alert is put in place, a creditor is going to have to verify who you are prior to approving new lines of credit.
The contact numbers for these agencies are as follows:
- Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
- Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
- Experian: 1-888-397-3742
Report the Theft or Loss to the Local Authorities
It is important that you don’t minimize this loss as something that the local police don’t have time for. This is because if you become a victim of identity theft, you want to be sure that there is a record that you reported your information and items as missing.
Report Your Driver’s License as Missing at the DMV
The majority of people keep their driver’s license in their wallet. This is one of the key elements that can be used against a person in cases of identity theft. This is why it is important to contact the DMV as soon as the loss occurs. They will be able to let you know what to do to have a new license issued to you.
Order a Credit Report
Every year, you can get a free credit report from each of the major credit bureaus. The best way to do this is by visiting the Annual Credit Report site. Be sure to take a close look to determine if there is any fraudulent spending present on your report.
Make a List of Everything that was in the Wallet
There are quite a few items in every person’s wallet that may seem to be insignificant but that may come back and haunt you. This includes work ID cards, access badges and even membership cards to movie places or even the gym. When you make a list you can begin calling each of the locations to let them know that your wallet was stolen and they need to cancel the existing card.
Doing this will help ensure that someone does not use them nefariously, trying to be you and gain access to something they should not have access to.
If Your Social Security Card is Missing, Call the Agency
Most people know their Social Security number by heart, which means they don’t have to carry it with them. However, if your Social Security card was in the wallet when it was stolen, it is essential to call and report it as lost right away. This will help to prevent ID theft and fraud. The following numbers should be called to report this as missing:
- The Internet Crime Complaint Center
- The FTC at 1-877-ID-THEFT (Federal Trade Commission)
- The Identity Protection Unit at the IRS at 1-800-908-4490
Ways to Prepare Prior to Losing Your Wallet
Prevention is key when it comes to your wallet or purse; however, this is not always possible. This is true for a number of things, including losing your wallet. If you take the time to make sure that your wallet only has the absolute essentials in it, which will prevent serious issues if it does become stolen. Some of the other steps and things you can do to help minimize your loss if the wallet or purse are stolen are:
- Remove everything from the wallet that is absolutely not necessary.
- Photocopy or scan everything that is in your wallet.
- Consider using a “lost wallet” app.
When you prepare, you will not have to stress or worry as much if your wallet or purse does go missing. Taking the time to use the information here will help you be prepared for the worst case scenario.