In today’s busy and fast-moving life, it is quite easy to lose track of time. And, if you’re running late for work, class, or an important meeting, you could forget about the most essential things you carry along with you on a regular basis such as your car keys, cell phone, or even your wallet.
Be very careful with your wallet. It could have a lot of important things like your driver’s license, identity cards, debit/credit cards, and of course, some cash. In case you have misplaced it or it has been stolen, all you need to do is to stay calm and think about what could possibly be done to recover your lost documents and stop someone from robbing you of your money using your debit/credit cards.
In this article, we have put together a step-by-step guide on what to do if you lose your wallet.
Make a List of What Was In Your Wallet
Panicking could make things worse. If you have lost something worrying or panicking about it won’t solve anything for you. It is better to calm yourself and closely think about the place where you could have left or lost your wallet.
If it is hard to remember, you can, at least, try to remember each and every item that you had in your wallet at the time you lost it. Make a list of all the items and think about what you can do to recover or block them to minimize the damage if someone tries to misuse them.
Call Your Credit Card Companies
Here’s what to do if you lose your wallet, especially if you have credit cards in it. The very first thing you need to do is to call all your concerned credit card companies. As per the Fair Credit Billing Act, anyone who reports the stolen card is not held responsible for any fraudulent purchases done by a thief.
However, if someone who had stolen your credit card starts using it before it has been reported stolen or lost, then you will only be responsible for up to $50 of any unauthorized buying activities.
If you are looking to contact one of the four biggest credit card companies to report your card stolen, here are their helpline numbers:
- American Express: 1-800-992-3404
- MasterCard: 1-800-627-8372
- Visa: 1-800-847-2911
- Discover: 1-800-347-2683
Call Your Bank and Report Your Debit Card as Stolen/lost
The next thing you need to do if you have lost your wallet is to call your concerned bank and report your debit card lost or stolen. Your bank is going to immediately work on your request and cancel/block your debit card and get a replacement issued for it with a new card number. Banks also have access to all the data related to your purchases. Using it, it would determine and verify the last legal transaction you made before your card got stolen.
Try to notify your bank about your missing debit card as soon as possible to minimize the risk of losing your money. If you report your card within two business days, you’ll only have to pay for unauthorized purchases worth a maximum of $50. However, a majority of banks in the country won’t even hold you liable for that.
On the other hand, people who report their debit card stolen between two and 60 days may have to pay for up to $500 of illegal purchases. The risk of losing a large amount of money further increases if someone tells the bank about the stolen card after 60 days. This way you could be responsible for all the illegal purchases and transactions made with your card.
Check Your Transactions For Any Unusual Activities
One of the most important things you should do if you lose your wallet is to check your credit reports for any suspicious activities. Make sure that your identity hasn’t been misused by someone to apply for new lines of credit or loans. Keeping an eye on your credit reports regularly will help you stay safe from any potential financial damage. The best way to do this is to check your credit reports regularly.
Luckily, there are many credit reporting agencies in the US that maintain your annual credit reports and allow you to access them free of cost. Once you have access to your credit reports, you need to go over them carefully. Alert the credit bureau at once, if you come across any credit card accounts or loans that you haven’t requested. It could be one of the fraudulent activities.
Set Up Fraud Alerts
The best way to stop thieves from stealing your identity and misusing it to open new lines of credit or request for loans is to call one of the three credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion — to request a fraud alert that you need them to place on your credit report.
You only need to contact one of the bureaus. That bureau then must alert the other two so that they can place their own fraud alerts on your credit reports. By setting up a fraud alert, whenever lenders or creditors get any kind of new loan or card request in your name, they’ll call and confirm from you first.
For your information, here are the contact numbers of the three national credit bureaus:
- Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
- Experian: 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
File a Police Report
Filing a police report is actually a key step in protecting your identity. You may likely be a victim of identity theft if your wallet has been stolen — and you want someone to know that beforehand. If not reported to the police in time, someone who has stolen your identity can easily use it to request a fake credit card account, putting you in great trouble.
Keeping the law enforcement agencies informed is what to do if you lose your wallet. You should also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and fill out an Identity Theft Affidavit. This affidavit is very important as it reports information relating to your case of identity theft to creditors and lenders to alert them. However, to become eligible to file a complaint with the FTC, you’re first required to file a police report.
Get a New Driver’s License
Driving laws may vary from state to state. Depending on the state from where you got your driver’s license issued, it may be important to report that your driver’s license was stolen or lost. Or, you could possibly have to sign a document that declares your original driver’s license missing.
The process can be easily carried out by visiting your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This way you can also apply for a replacement identification card or license. Well, it could be a time-consuming process, but driving without a license could possibly result in hefty fines if you’re stopped by a police officer.
Notify Your Concerned Medical Insurance Company
If someone loses their medical insurance card, the person should notify the insurance company immediately. The provider will likely replace it with a new card. And, it may take up to a few weeks for your new card to get processed.
In the meantime, it is very important for you to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity on your medical benefits statement. If you come across something unusual, report it to your insurance company and health care providers immediately.
Get a New Wallet
Last, but not least, get a new wallet and be very careful this time as you would not want to go through all that hassle again. Recovering your documents, blocking your debit/credit cards, and reporting about your missing identity are among the most important things you should do if you have misplaced your wallet.
There you have it — a complete guide on what to do if you lose your wallet. We hope the information we have shared in this article will help you minimize the damage and risks involved if your identity and debit/credit cards have been stolen along with your wallet.