Your wallet is lost, now what?
Credit cards, debit cards, insurance cards, identification and cash. Your wallet is a hub of your personal and financial information. That's why when you lose it, a feeling of panic usually sets in. Stay calm and review this checklist the next time you can't find your wallet.
1. Ask yourself: Is my wallet actually lost?
There is a big difference between a stolen wallet and a lost wallet. If you believe you misplaced your wallet, go online and log into your online banking account. Check your last transaction and call the business where you last spent money. Don't waste too much time looking for your misplaced wallet, though. Even though you're hoping a good Samaritan will turn in the precious possession, if your wallet landed in the hands of a thief, you don't have time to waste.
2. Call your bank & credit card companies
You need to report all credit and debit cards as missing or stolen – as soon as possible. If your wallet was stolen, a thief will try to use the cards or sell the card information. Call the credit card companies and contact your bank. If you're a TFCU member, you can call 866-266-5225 and say "lost debt card." A member service representative will help you through this process. Take extra precaution if you keep checks in your wallet. Determine what checks were lost or stolen and stop payment on them. Otherwise, those checks could be used to commit fraud and steal funds.
3. File a police report
If you can't find your wallet after some quick searching, it's time to alert authorities. By filing a police report, you're establishing a record of the loss that may prove helpful if your information ends up in the wrong hands. Make a list of everything you think was in your wallet, including the amount of cash and number of credit cards.
4. Apply for a credit freeze and get your free credit report
If your Social Security card was tucked inside your missing wallet, you should apply for a credit freeze. This will prevent anyone with your identification information from fraudulently opening credit cards, lines of credit or deposit accounts in your name. With your Social Security number and identification in hand, a thief could even take out a mortgage or car loan. Contact the three major reporting agencies below to request a credit freeze or fraud alert be placed on your account. The credit reporting company will also provide you a free credit report.
- Equifax: (800) 525-6285
- Experian: (888) 397-3742
- TransUnion: (800) 680-7289
5. Request a new Social Security card
If your Social Security card is lost with your wallet, you can apply for a new card online for free. You'll need to supply your birth certificate and/or your passport as proof of citizenship.
6. Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
In the event that your identify is stolen, you'll want any and all evidence to work in your favor. Call the DMV and report that your identification has been stolen or misplaced and apply for a new one. Visiting the DMV in person will guarantee a faster re-issuance of a new license.
7. Alert your insurance companies
Along with using your credit cards to make illegal purchases, a thief can also use your insurance cards to see a doctor or get prescriptions filled. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, medical identity theft victims pay an average of $13,500 to resolve their issues. Tell your insurance company that you need a new card immediately and prepare for a change in your policy number.
8. Don't forget about your smartphone
Many tech-savvy consumers use their smartphone to pay for purchases. While it can save time and reduce your need for a physical wallet, it makes things a little more complex in the event that you lose your phone. If you have a digital wallet stored on your smartphone, be sure to call your bank and ask for your mobile banking to be turned off.