What To Do If Your Wallet Is Lost Or Stolen
There are few things in life that more annoying or frustrating than losing your wallet. It often feels like they contain your whole life: money, debit cards, driver’s licence, receipts, photos of loved ones, and all those loyalty cards you have collected over the years. Even if you have decluttered and use minimalist wallets, its disappearance is still a major aggravation.
Hopefully, this is a problem you do not have to deal with anytime soon, or ever. But it is better to be safe than sorry by knowing the correct steps to take if your wallet is lost or stolen nonetheless, so you are prepared and can make the situation as stress-free as possible should it happen.
Buy A Location Tracker
Step one is precautionary: buy a location tracker and you might be saved from ever losing your wallet. There is a huge range of location trackers out there, each with its own list of features and USPs but essentially, they all work by hooking up to an app on your smartphone, which alerts you when your wallet is out or range. Just don’t lose the tracker!
Call Your Credit And Debit Card Providers
You have no idea whose hands your wallet has, purposely or accidentally, landed in. Because of this, it is crucial that you report your bank cards as lost or stolen as quickly as possible and stop a potential spending spree in your name.
Rather than cancel your cards, banks are able to suspend them, which ensures that there is no impact to your credit scores and your money is protected. You will be asked to verify the latest payments made using your cards to determine whether there has already been fraudulent activity. Your bank can then arrange replacement cards with brand new account numbers and also credit back fraudulent charges made through your account.
List Everything That Was In Your Wallet
Note down every item you can remember being in your wallet at the time it was lost or stolen. The sooner you do this the better, while it is still fresh in your mind. This will give you a checklist of companies you might need to contact and inform about missing cards, checks, paperwork, etc, all of which contain important personal data and leave you vulnerable to crime when lost. It is also helpful for filing a police report, which brings us on to our next step.
Contact The Local Authorities
Even if you think the wallet is lost not stolen, it is still essential to contact the police force in the area you noticed it was missing. Never think that it is too insignificant to bother them with or that the chance of getting it back is too small. If the police are unaware that your wallet is out there, they cannot take steps to watch out for identity theft and other types of fraud.
The police will ask you what was in your wallet, so you can provide them with the list you have already made. They will also ask if you have noticed any transactions from your accounts since it went missing. All of this information can help them identify and protect you from fraud.
Plus, we should mention here the kindness of strangers might save the day. When someone finds a lost wallet, the majority of the time they hand it into the police, who can notify you once it is found.
Protect Your Social Security Number
Now it is time to start making your way through your checklist of items inside the wallet and taking appropriate action. If your social security card has gone along with your wallet, apply for a credit freeze to stop anyone using your social security number and identity to open credit accounts. You can replace your card for free, starting with an online application and then picking it up from your local social security office.
Other Companies You Might Need To Inform
Another important card to address swiftly is health insurance, as losing this opens you up to someone claiming health care through your identity. With no card, you might not be able to prove you are insured too, so you will want a replacement as soon as possible.
Your driver’s licence and any membership and loyalty cards that have your personal information on them or are linked to your bank accounts should be next on your list.
Sign Up For A Credit Monitoring Service
Even if you take all the right steps after your wallet goes missing, you might still be at risk of credit card fraud. There are ways to protect yourself for the foreseeable future, such as credit monitoring services. Look into credit bureaus who can send you regular reports, which you can check for unusual activity. Step up the security by choosing a paid service or see if your credit cards include a free monitoring service.
Get A New, Safer Wallet
Unless you are one of the lucky ones who has their wallet found, you are going to need a new one. This is the perfect time to make a safer choice and minimise the risk of criminal activity for the future. One of the best options is an RFID wallet, which prevents the crime of radio frequency identification skimming, where contactless cards are scanned by thieves while you think they are safely stowed in your wallet. RFID wallets block the electromagnetic fields that make this possible.
Anyone who travels abroad often should consider a special travel wallet, especially as you might be carrying your passport and travel insurance card which you will want to keep extra safe. Travel wallets that can be worn under your clothes and are much harder for thieves to get to are a great purchase.
Lastly, a money clip is a way to carry cash in your pocket discreetly and safely, away from your main wallet. This is handy because you do not have to keep getting out your wallet and risking misplacing it or it being on show to criminals.
A missing wallet is never going to be a pleasant situation, but hopefully, now you can deal with it as easily as possible. Try not to panic, follow the steps, and fingers crossed you might even be reunited with your wallet!