What To Do About A Lost Wallet – Before and After

Losing your wallet can be scary and unsettling.

Recently I lost my wallet along with cash, credit cards, driver’s license plus my insurance cards covering my car, health and prescription plans.   Although I recovered my wallet several days later, there were steps I took to immediately mitigate any risks to my personal privacy, identity theft and credit scoring.   There are also steps you can take before losing your wallet to protect your personal information.

Before You Lose Your Wallet

Ensure that you have alternate identification in the event of a missing driver’s license.  Many licensing facilities will accept a passport, birth certificate, social security card, plus evidence of residence (utility bill) and/or liability insurance.

  • Inventory all merchants that perform monthly auto payments against your accounts.
  • NEVER EVER carry your social security card in your wallet. If your wallet is lost and is recovered by a dishonest individual they have the following pieces of information.
    • Your license with DOB and address
    • Your credit card information
    • Your health insurance and liability insurance cards
    • Your social security number (many credit card companies validate your identify via the last 4 digits of your SS number.
  • Inventory the contents of your wallet and make copies of the information. Store in a secure place (not a safety deposit box as you need a driver’s license to access your box)
  • Sign up with an Identity Protection Agency (e.g. LifeLock, Identity Shield)
  • If you have multiple credit cards, keep a couple in a secondary location.
  • Think about how you would get access to cash if your debit card and license were missing (your bank may not allow you to withdraw funds onsite without either form of identification)
  • Ensure that you keep a certain amount of cash in a separate location.

Once You Lose Your Wallet

  • Contact the last place you used your wallet to determine if a wallet was turned in.
  • If you do not locate your wallet in a timely manner, perform the below steps:
    • Cancel your debit and credit cards immediately and request a new cards. Check your bank statement for any unusual transactions
    • File a police report, even if the wallet is lost. If someone has used your identification or information for nefarious purposes, you now have a point in time and a reference number for filing a police report
    • Notify your identify theft organization and report the loss.
    • Ensure that the 3 credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax) are notified and that there is either a hold or fraud alert placed on your credit. The fraud alert lasts for 90 days and can be renewed for an additional 90 days. Contact Info for each is listed below:
  • Notify your health insurance, auto insurance and other providers of the loss. They may issue you a new account number or monitor your account for unusual activity (e.g. false health claims)
  • Once you receive your new debit card, notify any organization (e.g. utilities, credit card, merchants etc.) that debit your account on an auto-pay reoccurring basis and provide the latest information.
  • Change on-line passwords (e.g. email, PayPal, eBay, Amazon, etc.).

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