If you’ve ever lost your wallet, you’ll be aware of the panic that surges through your body. With wallets containing extremely important items and information, including credit, debit, and insurance cards, money, ID, keys, and an abundance of other personal details, it can feel like your whole life has disappeared after losing it.
As well as the initial anxiety of misplacing your wallet, there’s also the devastating chance of it falling into the wrong hands. Because wallets contain important personal information in addition to cash and credit cards, you could end up being a victim of identity fraud, so it’s imperative you act fast if your wallet is lost.
To ensure you’re prepared and know what to do when you lose your wallet, this checklist provides you with all you need to know and the actions to take.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU LOSE YOUR WALLET
Call Your Credit and Debit Card Issuers
While it may be tempting to cancel your cards straight away to prevent thieves from accessing your funds, it’s wiser to contact your card issuer and let them know the situation first. This is because canceling cards can start processes that could leave you in a mess financially, as well as compromise your credit score.
Instead, let your issuer know that your card has been lost or stolen. Rather than canceling your card, they will suspend it so that no one can spend any money, keeping your account safe.
Once you’ve reported your card, your issuer will then send you a new card with brand new account numbers. Ensure that the credit limits are the same as your lost card and that any miles you have accrued can be transferred.
If the cards lost in your wallet were used for automatic debits, it’s critical you let the companies know as soon as you can. If you don’t let them know, your utilities and accounts won’t be paid due to a card rejection. This could result in late payments, owed fees, or even services being suspended. If your automatic debit goes unpaid, your credit score could be tarnished.
Report Your Stolen or Missing Wallet to Your Local Authorities
While local authorities won’t jump on your missing wallet case immediately, it’s still crucial that you report it, so it is on their system. This is because, in the devastating event of fraud or identity theft, authorities have the report on record. This can then provide evidence in your favor if this were to happen – you don’t want authorities asking you why you didn’t report the loss as this could compromise your case.
When reporting to the local authorities, be prepared for questions such as:
- When and what location do you recall losing your wallet?
- Can you describe the appearance of your wallet?
- What was in your wallet when it was lost/stolen? Include credit and debit cards, the amount of cash money, receipts, or photos.
- If your wallet was stolen, do you have any suspicions or descriptions of potential suspects?
After you’ve filed the report, it’s imperative you keep a copy not only for your records but just in case you need to provide more evidence later on.
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Read More: Types of Identity Theft You Must Know About
Put a Credit Freeze or Fraud Alert on Your Accounts
When it comes to credit-reporting agencies, there are three major companies you need to contact immediately in the event of a lost wallet: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Contacting these agencies and getting a fraud alert put in place ensures that any future creditor needs to verify your identity before accepting any new credit requests.
These agencies can put a credit freeze or fraud alert in place by phoning a number that will put your name in a file next to a fraud alert. This makes it almost impossible for anyone to spend large sums of money or stack up huge bills in your name.
First American Financial Corp: 885 Million Users
Hackers breached the company’s system in May 2019, affecting the records of 885 million users. The company leaked bank account numbers, statements, and mortgage tax records. This was one of the most significant data breaches affecting US citizens since the Yahoo incident.
Report Your Missing Driver’s License to Your Local DMV
The majority of people keep their driver’s license in their wallet, so in the event of it going missing, report it to your local DMV. This is because the details on your license can be used in criminal activity such as fraud and identity theft.
Reporting your license as missing or stolen allows the DMV to process the application and reissue a new license. The reissue process varies from state to state, and there may be fees for a new license.
If Your Keys are Missing, Change Your Locks
If your house keys are kept in your wallet, then it’s one of the reasons why you should change your locks immediately, as you don’t want to risk a break-in. Even if your wallet is returned with everything still in place, there still may be a chance that someone copied your key. This is because it is common for someone to steal a wallet, note down the address from the driver’s license, copy the key, and then hand it into the authorities, all with the intention of planning a robbery.
With this in mind, changing the locks is a sensible idea, and it’s really simple to do. Either order some new locks online and fit them yourself or contact your local locksmith and have them replace them for you.
If you keep your car keys in your wallet, they are not as easy to replace. If you are worried your car may be stolen as a result of a missing wallet, it’s advised you contact your local garage for assistance.
Cover All Bases and Take Action Immediately
Losing your wallet can be a stressful experience, and you don’t want to make it worse by reporting it missing too late, leading to devastating financial consequences.
By being aware of what to do when you lose your wallet, you’ll be able to take action immediately and prevent the worst from happening. By employing each of these steps, you’ll not only put yourself in a better position financially but mentally, too – you’ll know you’ve done everything you can to avoid the situation getting worse, providing you with peace of mind in the knowledge you’ve dealt with the situation correctly.
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