Wallets carry our most important identity documents, such as our driving license, social security card, debit, and credit cards.
If this information falls into the wrong hands, it can be used in identity theft, leading to losses of thousands of dollars. Identity theft may also damage a victim’s reputation and credit history.
So it is understandable for you to panic if you lose your wallet or it gets stolen. However, taking the right steps after losing your wallet could greatly reduce your loss and damages. One smart step is contacting Soft Pull Credit to find out how we can easily get back everything you’ve lost.
Keep reading for 11 crucial steps for what to do when you lose your wallet.
1. Make a List of What You Lost
The first step for what to do when you lost your wallet is to make a list of everything you have lost. This will help you prioritize what to do and who to notify about the lost items. For some of the items like your debit card, you will need to immediately call the relevant authority to cancel and replace the item.
For other items, such as your gym card or insurance, the card could be replaced later when you have time. An important tip for you is to always have a general idea about the contents of your wallet and to carry as few items as possible.
Some things, such as your social security card or your extra credit cards, can stay at home in a secured location. This will make it easier for you to remember what you are carrying in your wallet as well as help minimize your exposure to identity fraud in case you lose your wallet.
2. Notify Accounts
Once you have identified your lost items, the next most important step is to notify your bank and credit card companies about any lost cards. Remember to log the date and time of all the calls you make to the different organizations about your lost items.
You may need this information in the future in case you need to prove that you aren’t responsible for fraudulent credit applications or purchases.
If you’re a client of Soft Pull Credit or Identity Insured they can report the lost wallet and items inside and our full service restoration team will actually notify the lenders for you so you don’t have to! That way you can make one call instead of ten.
3. Call Your Debit Card Vendor
Your debit card is one of the worst things to lose because, if thieves use them, the funds are drawn directly from your bank accounts. To make matters worse, once the funds leave your account, the banks will put you through a long process to recover the funds.
It is therefore important to cancel your debit card as soon as you discover that you’ve lost your wallet. When you call your bank to report a missing debit card, they will immediately cancel your card and issue a new one. Additionally, they will go over the last transactions on the card with you to check if there have already been any illegal transactions on your account.
Related: Soft Pull Credit Plans
If you report a lost or stolen debit card within 48 hours of losing it, you will typically only be liable for up to $50 of unauthorized charges. If you take up to 60 days you may be responsible for up to $500 of unauthorized charges. However, if you take longer than 60 days to report a stolen card you would be responsible for all the unauthorized charges.
This is why it is important to report and cancel a lost card as soon as possible to reduce your losses. You can find your debit card’s phone number on your bank’s website.
4. Notify Your Bank
Once you cancel your debit card, the next step is to speak with your bank about protecting your checking account. This is particularly important if you have lost your checkbook as well. Call your bank to place a freeze on your checking account.
You would then need to close that account and open a new one just to be sure that thieves cannot access your funds. In case you open a new checking account, remember to change all your direct debits to the new account so that your bills continue getting paid.
5. Notify Your Credit Card/Financial Account Companies
Credit card companies require you to notify them as soon as possible if your card gets lost or stolen. If you do report the stolen card before the thief has a chance to use it, you will not be responsible for any fraudulent charge on that card.
If you report your card as lost or stolen once a thief has already used it, you would only be responsible for up to $50. To find the phone number for your credit card companies, just check on their corporate website.
Some people have many credit cards, and when their wallet gets stolen, they may forget to report a rarely used card. To prevent this, use your latest credit check report to call all your credit card companies. Alternatively, keep a list of all your credit cards and check this list when reporting stolen cards.
6. Alert Authorities
To protect yourself from the liabilities that would be caused by a thief using your identity for illegal activities, it is important to let authorities know that your documents have been stolen.
7. Create Fraud Alerts
Frauds can use information in your wallets, such as your social security number and driver’s license to take out loans or open up new credit cards under your name. To prevent this, you should notify credit check bureaus to put a fraud alert on your name.
Credit card companies are supposed to do a credit check before issuing credit cards, so when they check with these companies, they will be notified of the fraud alert. It will then be up to them to take steps to verify that you are the one requesting a new credit card. Fraud alerts are free for 90 days.
In case you also lost your social security card, it is important to put a full-on credit freeze on your name with the credit check agencies. Doing so will prevent anyone from getting a new card or loan under your name. Credit freezes are free if you can prove that your identity has been stolen.
Alternatively, you can pay about $10 to put the freeze.
Below are the numbers of the three credit check companies. You would only need to call one agency, and they would go ahead to notify the other two.
- Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
- Experian: 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
It is also important to call the IRS Identity Protection Unit at 1-800-908-4490 to report that your social security card was stolen. They will then be on alert in case there is a suspicious activity under your name.
8. File a Police Report
Another tip for what to do when you lose your wallet is to get the police involved. Many people do not file a police report after they lose their wallet because they assume that the police won’t bother helping them recover it. However, filing a police report is necessary because you would need the report to apply for a new social security card and a new driver’s license.
You may also need to file a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) if you have been a victim of identity theft, and this requires a police report. On top of this, the credit check companies require the FTC report for some of their processes in case you want to report an identity theft fraud with them.
Be sure to keep all of the official reports from the police for legal and personal documentation purposes.
9. Get Replacement
Once it becomes apparent that you won’t recover your lost wallet, then the next step is to replace your lost documents.
Replace Your Social Security Card
You should never carry your social security card in your wallet as thieves can easily steal your identity once they know your full name and social security number. If you did have it in your lost wallet, you can easily get a replacement for your social security card at the social security agency.
If you want a new number, however, you will need to prove that someone has fraudulently used your old number. You can do this by filing a police report and using that report as evidence.
Replace Your Driver’s License
You can get in trouble with the police if you are caught driving without a license. In case yours was in your lost or stolen wallet, then you must go to the DMV as soon as possible to get a replacement.
Most states will require proof of identity, such as your birth certificate, and proof of residence, such as a recent utility bill. Documentation required for a replacement driver’s licenses does vary from state to state though.
To be on the safe side, check the website of your local DMV to find out what documents they need to issue a replacement driver’s license. Some states do charge a fee for a replacement license. However, if you have a police report proving that you lost your wallet with your license, you can get a new one for free.
10. Take Additional Security Measures
Losing important documents is a serious matter, and all avenues that a thief may use to steal from you must be closed. Below are some additional security measures you can take to adequately protect yourself and your belongings.
Check Credit Reports for Any Other Suspicious Behavior
Once you have lost your wallet and your information is in someone else’s hands it is important to regularly check your credit reports for any suspicious transactions. Each credit card company allows you to get a free credit check report once a year, so you can request one from a different agency every four months.
This way you will be able to check your credit report once every quarter for suspicious activity. Notify the credit bureaus immediately and file a police report for identity theft if you notice any new loans or credit cards that you haven’t applied for.
Change Your Locks (If Your Wallet Had Keys)
Change your locks if your wallet had your house keys or if your whole purse was stolen and your keys were in there. The thief will have your driver’s license as well as other documents that may show your home address and your keys.
This means they can easily come to your home and let themselves in. However, changing your lock as soon as possible after the theft or loss of your wallet will prevent thieves from accessing your home.
11. How Soft Pull Credit Can Help
Here’s another important and practical tip to follow for what to do when you lose your wallet. Soft Pull Credit has a lost wallet service that can greatly reduce your exposure to identity theft. We have CITRMS (Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist) that will help you to quickly and effectively cancel and/or reissue all your lost documents.
Some of the documents we regularly assist in replacing include credit cards, ID cards, Debit Cards/ATM Cards, Checkbooks, Drivers Licenses, Social Security Cards, Insurance Cards, Membership Cards, Professional Licenses, Passports, Visa and Immigration Documents, Diplomas or Certificates, Military Identification Cards, Travelers Checks, and Medicare/Medicaid.
We can assist you in quickly and effectively terminate and re-order your wallet contents. We don’t need you to have pre-registered your wallet contents to take advantage of our Lost Wallet Services.
Know What to Do When You Lose Your Wallet
Losing your wallet is a very stressful experience that can expose you to identity fraud. This can cause you to spend a lot of time and money getting things in order. Following the above tips for what to do when you lose your wallet can greatly limit your liability.
Keep in mind to carry the minimum number of items you require in your wallet to prevent your exposure to identity fraud. You should always have a general idea of what you do have in your wallet so that it is easy to remember what needs to be replaced in case you do lose your wallet.
Our experts can help you if you’ve experienced a lost wallet or an identity theft scare. Reduce your stress and keep your identity safe by getting an inquiry check with Soft Pull Credit today.