You never plan to lose your wallet – it just kind of happens. And when this happens, it’s important to remain calm and proceed through a plan of action. Follow these 7 steps…
1) Determine if it’s lost, or just misplaced. I can’t tell you the number of times I thought that my wallet was lost or stolen, only to find out that I had just set it somewhere (and forgotten where that “somewhere” is).
You may want to make some calls to the most recent places you have visited – restaurants, stores, etc. Most people are honest, and will usually make an attempt at getting your wallet back to you.
2) Call the issuers of your credit, debit, and ATM cards. Some people will tell you to cancel your cards right away – but that’s not actually what you should do. Cancelling cards can create an even bigger mess, and could impact your credit score. You should be reporting the cards as lost or stolen. Every card issuer has a procedure that will suspend those numbers to keep your money safe.
If your cards are with SeaComm, give us a call at (800) 764-0566 during business hours. If you need to report a lost/stolen card after business hours, you may call (800) 325-3678 for credit cards, and (800) 500-1044 for debit cards.
3) File a police report. While the authorities won’t be sending a squad team to track down your wallet, it’s important to make this call to provide evidence in your favor should you become a victim of fraud or identity theft. Some key information you’ll need to tell the police includes:
- Where you think you might have lost your wallet
- The list of items in the wallet (how much money, credit cards, social security card, etc.)
- A description of the wallet (color, brand, size)
- Any possible suspects who you believe might have taken your wallet
4) List everything that was in the wallet. You might not be able to remember every single item and card that you kept in your wallet, but it’s important to make a list of what you can remember. This includes work ID’s, memberships, medical insurance cards, etc. After you’ve completed this list, make some calls to the associated organizations to have new cards issued.
5) Go to your local DMV to report your missing driver’s license. Do this as soon as possible. Although you can call them, it’s better to be there in person so that they can process your application quicker. The steps to reissue a license varies from state to state, and you might have to pay a small fee.
6) Set up fraud alerts. Contact one of the three major credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion – to place a fraud alert on your credit files through them. You only need to contact one credit bureau as they are legally required to inform the other two once an alert request has been put in.
Each fraud alert lasts for 3 months and helps to prevent any identity theft because it requires the bureaus to contact you when any new accounts are opened under your name.
7) Order a credit report. Every year, you are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus. Once you’ve received your report, scan through it to spot any possible fraudulent activity.
If you haven’t lost your wallet (yet) …Hopefully you won’t, but never say never. There are precautions you should take:
- Never leave your social security card in your wallet
- Avoid carrying a large sum of cash
- Don’t carry too many cards in your wallet – determine what’s needed, and what isn’t
- And always try to keep your wallet in a specific spot (i.e back pocket, purse). Try to avoid setting it down on the table at the restaurant, or a counter at the store.