Most of us have felt that horrible feeling when you realize you’ve lost your wallet. The panic that sets over is one of the worst feelings. Not only is it inconvenient, but it’s also scary to think that someone has access to everything you had in your wallet. From your driver’s license to your insurance cards, someone can use these items to do some major damage to your credit. Most of the time, the money you lose on fraudulent credit card purchases will be replaced. Your credit card company may even alert you that your card has been stolen before you even realize your wallet is missing. What’s more important is that you protect yourself against fraud. Here’s what to do when you lose your wallet.
Double check it’s actually lost
Before you go calling the police and canceling all of your cards, double check your wallet is actually lost. Retrace your last steps, check coat and pants pockets, look in the car, and call around to all of the recent places you’ve visited. It’s important to triple check everywhere because once you start the process of canceling and replacing the contents of your wallet, you won’t be able to undo it. It will take a lot of time and work to get your accounts back in order and to make sure you’re safe from fraud.
Get on the phone
Once you’ve confirmed your wallet is lost, start by calling all of the banks and issuers of the cards you’ve lost. You can begin the process by making a list of everything in your wallet so you know who to call. You’ll want to not only tell your banks that your card has gone missing, but you also want to make sure they send you replacement cards right away. If your insurance cards were also in there, make sure you alert your insurance companies and get new cards for those as well.
You also need to confirm your automatic payments will be paid. Now that your credit card numbers have changed, you won’t want to miss an important payment because of it.
Freeze your credit
Freezing your credit with all three credit agencies will help prevent any fraudulent activity from going unnoticed. Anytime someone tries to open a new account in your name, you’ll be notified and it will require verification. You also need to put a fraud alert on all of your accounts by calling the credit agencies and letting them know you’ve lost your wallet and your cards. You should do the same by calling your bank as well.
File your property as missing
One of the first things you should do when you realize your wallet is missing is to list of all of the contents and notify the police that it has gone missing. If fraudulent charges are made on your accounts, you might need proof that your wallet went missing or was stolen. Retailers will make the process a lot easier if you can provide documentation that you filed a police report. This will likely also be a requirement if you make an insurance claim on anything that was lost or stolen.
You’ll also want to report your driver’s license and passport or state identification card has been lost. This will put a flag on your identification in case it’s used somewhere it shouldn’t be.
Monitor your credit
Once everything has been replaced and you’re back up and running with all of your lost cards, there’s one last thing you should do on a regular basis. You should regularly monitor your credit and order your free annual report online. This will help you keep track of everything being reported on your credit and ensure there’s nothing suspicious going on without your knowledge.