It happens to the best of us. You set your purse on the bench next to you and leave it behind when you get up to chase down your toddler; it’s gone when you return. Or you take out your wallet to pay for something, get distracted, and forget to put it back in your pocket.
Whatever the case, you lose your wallet. Now what do you do?
It’s not easy to replace everything in your wallet. Some of the more sentimental items, like the movie ticket you saved from your first date with your now-husband, will be gone forever. But luckily, you probably can get new prints of any photos you were carrying—and you definitely can get new credit cards and a new driver’s license.
Here are the steps you should take if you lose your wallet.
- Cancel your debit and credit cards. If you have a debit card, the first thing you want to do is report the loss to your bank since the card is directly tied to your checking account. Then start calling those credit card companies. Make sure you log on to InsureYouKnow.org, where you’ve smartly stored all the information you’ll need for each card: the name of the issuing bank, the bank’s customer service number, and your account number. Don’t forget about any store cards you might have.
- File a police report. Obviously the police don’t have time to track down every stolen wallet. Nonetheless, it’s important to report the loss. That way, if someone tries to steal your identity using the information in your lost wallet, you have proof of the incident. Be sure to keep a copy of the police report for your records.
- Replace your driver’s license. This step is a little more involved. You most likely will have to head down to your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and handle this in person. The DMV will probably encourage you to file a police report, which is another reason you want to complete the second step; some states may even waive the replacement fee if you provide proof your wallet was stolen.
- Replace your other cards. From your health insurance card to your warehouse club card, there’s a good chance you carry more cards in your wallet than you think. It’ll be a process, but you need to contact all the companies associated with those cards and request replacements (and yes, that includes your library card; you don’t want to be hit with a bunch of late fees months after you thought this nightmare was over).
- Place a fraud alert on your accounts. To further protect you against identity theft, you’ll want the three major credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to put a fraud alert on your file. You only need to call one of them; the company you call is required to notify the other two. It’s a good idea to order a copy of your credit report from each company to make sure everything looks right. Remember, you can order a free copy of your credit report from each of the three bureaus every 12 months at annualcreditreport.com.
Losing your wallet is a hassle—and that’s another reason why it’s important to store your vital financial information and other documents on InsureYouKnow.org. Being able to find the information you need quickly and easily will save you a lot of time and headache.