How would you define a wallet… may be as a small, portable container for your cash, credit and debit cards, and a trove of sensitive personal information. As it contains with all the essential things, everybody wants to keep their wallet safe and they use different techniques for it – for example, placing it in the front pocket, holding it in a certain way, etc. But the fact is that there is always a chance of stealing or losing your wallet someday, regardless of how much you defend against it. If your wallet get stolen or lost, then it is definitely a devastating experience for you. But if you take several quick and tactical actions as precautions, you can lessen the potential for fraud or minimize its impact. The thieves can utilize your checking accounts and credit card to open new accounts, which can create troubles for you. You may have only several minutes to protect your stolen identity proofs and your finances, so taking the action immediately is necessary. Read on the article… it will guide you to lessen the damage in case your wallet had been stolen.
1, Terminate All You Credit and/or Debit Cards Immediately
Credit/Debit card scam is an ordinary form of identity theft. Probably, your stolen cards will be rapidly used by thieves, usually for some large purchases, or some small ones. So, when it comes to canceling of your credit/debit cards, you’ll have to be particularly proactive to curtail the chances of thieves to use your cards and rack up charges. Majority of credit card companies are wise to this type of issues and observe ‘unusual buying patterns’. But you do not have to rely on that. Reporting to the credit card companies about your theft is very important. As soon as you call your credit card companies to cancel your credit/debit cards, it will be better for you.
Since you don’t have your wallet, it may be a bit difficult for you. But don’t get bothered; find your account numbers and companies’ phone numbers from your account statements and make a call to cancel your cards, especially your store cards. The store cards often have more stringent reporting and have less stringent security policies than a lot of major credit cards. To avoid penalties that might be brought about by canceling and consequently renewing, cancel your card only not your account. Along with cancellation of your stolen card, ask the company to give you a new card and new number for the same account.
Do not keep all your cards in your wallet, bring only the cards which you need to use.
Keep a catalog of relevant credit card companies and bank phone numbers at a safe place of home to contact them rapidly if you need.
2, File a Police Report without Delay
Calling the police instantly is very crucial step if you find any fraudulent charges on your card. That is not all; the thief can also steal your identity by means of your wallet and can use it in a wrong way, so it is very important to take an immediate action to avoid identity theft. Fraud is an illicit crime and if somebody is currently trying to commit fraud using your personal information and credit cards, then police can take steps to interfere it. Filing a police report about your missing wallet is also wise if your wallet had been fallen down and came in hands of an honest citizen. In report, include a catalog of all the things that was in your wallet and do not forget to get a copy of the police report and a report number.
3, Report the Loss to Your Bank and Insurance Companies
It is very important to inform your bank, insurance companies and any other financial institutions about that, your wallet has been stolen and your personal information has been compromised. If there was any content regarding your bank accounts in your wallet like a deposit slip, check book or canceled check, then ask the bank to stop payments on outstanding checks, and terminate your savings and checking accounts, open new ones and move your money. OR if your ATM card was in your purse, then cancel it and get a new ATM card with a new account number and password or PIN.
You should also inform your insurance company about your wallet theft, as they may even give some kind of protection against identity theft.
Check your bank accounts personally in the weeks and months to make sure that your accounts are not being used devoid of your knowledge.
4, Put a Fraud Alert on Three National Credit-Reporting Bureaus
Obviously, no one wants to be the victim of identity theft. So, if your Social Security card or your credit information was in your stolen wallet, then it is crucial to contact the credit bureaus and put a fraud alert. By using your Social Security card or your credit information, thieves can acquire new credit cards on your name and thus ruin your credit rating in the process. You should contact one of these primary credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and Transunion) immediately to put a ‘fraud alert’. These credit bureaus put restrictions on your credit record so that if someone will try to apply for credit using your information, the creditor will be required to contact you first to confirm that whether it is you who is making the application or not.
- Contact numbers:
Equifax: (800) 525-6285
Experian: (888) 397-3742
Trans Union: (800) 680-7289
Do not keep your Social Security card in your purse.
Do not bring your Medicare card in your purse except you are going to a medical appointment.
6, Reissue All Your Identification Content
Majority of people carry their driver's license, passport, green card, health insurance card or auto insurance, and a range of other forms of identification in their wallets. If you are one of them, then you will be required to obtain new copies of all these documents. To reissue the Government documents, you will typically be required to go through a formal application process and to provide evidence of your identity. The sort of required identity relies upon the sort of document that you are reissuing. So, it is a good idea, not to keep all the contents of identification in your wallet together.
1) Driver's license
Acquire a new driver's license card in place of your lost license by reporting the loss of your license to the Department of Motor Vehicles. You will probably be required to pay for this, so, carry a check or some cash with you.
Call the State Department instantly at 1-877-487-2778 and also fill out a Form DS-64 for obtaining a new copy of your Passport and cancel the old one. If your passport was issued by the country outside of the US, inform the embassy of issuing country.
3) Green Card
You can get the assistance for replacing your green card by contacting US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) or going on the USCIS web page. If your green card has been lost outside of the US, then firstly contact the nearby USCIS office, US consulate, or port of entry.
4) Health Insurance Card or Auto Insurance
Contact your insurance carriers and apply to replace your policy number. By this way, you can protect your policy against unauthorized and fraudulent claims.
If any other sorts of identification were present in your wallet, then you will have to acquire new copies of those documents, too.
7, Take Inventory of All Your Wallet Contents
Think of all the things you had in your wallet and write a list. You probably have a library card, membership cards, store loyalty cards, rental cards and rewards cards. Remember that several cards may operate alike a credit card, such as a library card. The thief can make use of your library card illegally to borrow things from the library on your name, for which you will be responsible afterward. Contact the providers of all your cards, ask them to cancel your stolen cards or membership numbers and to issue new one, hence the thief cannot utilize them.
Was your home or office address in your wallet? Was the key of your home or office in your wallet? If both of these questions have positive outcome, then it is necessary to change your locks.
The Tips to Bear in Mind Before You Ever Leave Home
Obviously, no one wants that their wallet get stolen. But as it is not in our hands, it is very important to take some precautions before you ever leave home. By this way, you will make sure that if your wallet is stolen, the course of action will be much less of an inconvenience. Remember that, a little prevention is worth a pound of cure.
- First of all, take all unnecessary identification out of wallet and store it in a secure place. Do not bring your Social Security card in your wallet.
- Remove the store credit cards which you do not utilize often. By this way, you will not need to report so many missing cards.
- Make a detailed and up-to-date catalog of the things that you bring in your wallet, including card numbers and phone numbers which will be required if your wallet get stolen.
- Make copies of your identification and all the cards and store in a secure place. It can make rapid and easier work of the process.
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