Wallet or Purse Gone! Now What?

Not only is there the fear of the financial repercussions, but losing your wallet or purse can leave you feeling completely and utterly exposed. In short, it’s pretty terrifying. But now is the time to put aside your anxiety and get to the task of protecting yourself with the following actions.

Start a file
Start a collection of the information related to this incident in particular and your identity security in general. Also keep a log of the calls made related to the lost information and send all correspondence certified mail. It is best to err on the side of keeping records of everything.

File a police report
Getting a copy of the police report is crucial for steps you may need to take later, like getting fraudulent charges reversed or getting incorrect information removed from your credit report. Provide the police with a detailed list of the items that were stolen.

Call your credit card issuer(s) and financial institution(s) to report the loss
The faster you do this the better, since reporting quickly could eliminate or reduce your liability for fraudulent charges or activity.

Change any passwords that were compromised
It’s never a good idea to carry your passwords on your person, but if you do lose them, update your passwords immediately.

Call or visit your local social security office if your card was lost
Your card should never be carried in your wallet or purse, but if it was, contact the local Social Security office to get a replacement card.

Contact your state’s DMV
Report your license as missing and get a replacement license. Remember that in most cases, for driver’s license and social security numbers it will impossible to get a new number issued unless you can prove that the original number is being used illegally by someone else.

Change locks if keys were lost
Also if you had the pass code for any keyless entry systems taken, change those too.

For membership or library cards, contact the issuer and ask that the account be closed and re-opened
This is another task for which it is important to be comprehensive. Think of all memberships yo have, like gyms, alumni groups, fraternal organizations, service organizations, etc.

Monitor your accounts and your credit reports closely
If you believe you may have been the victim of identity theft, you are entitled to an extra copy of each of your three credit reports for free.

Consider putting a fraud alert or security freeze on your credit report
The telephone numbers for the fraud department of the three major credit bureaus are:

  • Equifax: 800.525.6285
  • Experian: 888.397.3742
  • TransUnion: 800.680.7289

You can ask them to place a fraud alert on your credit file, but keep in mind that will only place a message on your report; it doesn’t necessarily stop someone from opening an account in your name. A security freeze is a more robust measure, since anyone who wants to access your credit reports will need a password that only you have.

Close out any prepaid calling cards
If possible, have the provider of the card transfer any unused minutes to a new card.

For any insurance cards or information lost, call your provider
Be sure to request that a new policy number be issued and that your old policy be closed out.

If you lost a Green Card or passport, contact the appropriate authorities
For a Green Card contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at 800.375.5283. In regard to your passport, contact the U.S. State Department at 877.487.2778. If the passport was issued by a foreign country, call the embassy of the country that issued your passport.


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