It can be a distressing experience that you have lost money and other important documents in your wallet. It may give you big headache to realize that your credit and debit cards are being used illegally by a person who stole your wallet. It therefore very important to be very vigilant about the wallet you are carrying and frequent checking of your bank account to prevent any illegal transaction. The following are steps that you should follow in case your wallet get lost.
1. First of All, Is It Actually Lost or Stolen, or Just Misplaced
The first thing to do is to confirm whether it actually got lost, misplaced or stolen. You might have forgotten it in your house, in your car or the recent visited places. Immediately contact the recent places you might have visited like stores, restaurants and malls. There are chances that you will get your wallet back in case you forgot it.
2. Call the Issuers of Your Credit, Debit, and ATM Cards
Once you have realized your wallet indeed got lost, find out the contents in it. In case there were credit cards, ATM cards or debit cards, use the possible and easier way to keep yourself safe. Some may advice cancelling of the cards but this may not be very safe. Just report the cards as stolen or lost to the insurer such that the right procedure is followed in suspending the numbers to keep your money and other crucial information safe. In case the cards are issued a bank, call them also so that they can handle checks if they were in the wallet.
After this step, you can now apply for new cards which will have totally different account numbers. However, they main contain same credit limit as before, same APR and any miles you might have accrued to be transferred.
Lastly, in case some of those cards were used for automatic debits, you should inform the relevant companies within two to three days. If this is not done, definitely you will not get paid because the card will be rejected. You could as well owe fees; your services suspended or even go past due. It is important to note that any debt that goes unpaid will make your APR shoot up or get a black mark on the credit score.
3. Put a Fraud Alert or Credit Freeze on Your Accounts
There are three major credit reporting agencies that should know about the lose immediately. They include Experian, Trans union and Equifax. Any creditor must approve your identity before approving any new credit when the fraud alert is in place. In most cases, this is done through a phone call to the number indicated on the file with fraud alert. This makes it very impossible for a thief up large bills on your behalf.
4. Report the Loss or Theft to the Local Authorities
Never should you think or imagine that reporting the issue to the police is unnecessary. In fact they can even try to track down your wallet and this can help you recover it. The main reason for this step is to provide evidence in your favor in case you become a victim of identity fraud or theft. Some of the major questions the police may be asking includes: the likely place you must have lost your wallet, what exactly was in the wallet, vivid description of the wallet and whether you suspect anybody who might have stolen it.
5. Go to Your Local DMV to Report Your Missing Driver’s License
In case your driving license was among the items in the wallet, you should get in touch with the DMV immediately and report the lose. Sometimes you can call to report this but it is always recommended that you get there in person to quicken the application process and express yourself better. Thereafter, they will follow the right procedure to issue a new license. The DMV definitely will ask you to file a police report and this makes the above step very relevant.
6. If Keys Are Missing, Change the Locks
If the wallet contained office or house keys, don’t risk breaking into because intruders may use opportunity to mess up with you. Even if the wallet is recovered, somebody can have a copy of your keys and this is so dangerous. It is always recommended that you change the locks so as to prevent any chances of robbery. In case your car keys also went missing, contact your car dealer for assistance now that changing the car lock is never easy.
7. If Your Social Security Card Is Missing, Inform the Authorities
Most people have their SSN over head hence unnecessary to carry it a long. However, if the SSN card was in the wallet, report the loss immediately. The social security administration doesn’t issue a new number but a card. This means that calling them will not help with fraud and ID theft. The following steps will assist you reduce the risks of being an ID theft victim; calling the IRS identity protection unit, filling the loss with the federal trade commission and lastly reporting the issue to the internet crime complaint center. You can do this by visiting their website.
8. Try to List Everything Else That Was in the Wallet
Some other documents we often carry in our wallets seems to be so insignificant but very essential and may easily come to haunt you later. They include memberships to rental stores, movies, access badges, work ID cards, computer passwords, medicine insurance cards and padlock keys. Ensure that every item in the wallet is listed.
9. Order Credit Reports
The major credit bureaus gives free credit reports to their customers every year without any strings attached. The simple and easiest way to get this is to visit Annual Credit Reports website. Keenly inspect them to note any fraudulent spending.
10. Replace the Wallet with a New One
After losing your wallet doesn’t mean you avoid using wallets. After all these steps, you can now find another wallet to use. You actually need to get your life back. Fill the new wallet with replaced checks, cards and any other important document that was in the old wallet.