You just got home from work — you put your car keys and phone on the counter, but something is missing. Your wallet. Stay calm. Dealing with a missing or stolen wallet is not as daunting as it may seem. Here are five simple steps to take next.
- Call Your Credit Union or Bank
Reporting your ATM or debit cards as lost or stolen is a crucial step in protecting the information in your stolen wallet, your identity and your financial security. Get in touch with your credit union or bank and cancel the missing card. You may also need to close your accounts. Your liability increases the longer you wait to notify your credit union or bank, so make sure you do this as quickly as possible. You should also change any usernames, passwords or PIN numbers attached to your accounts.
- Contact Your Credit Card Provider
When you call your credit card provider, they will cancel your missing card and give you a new one. They will also assist you in looking for potentially fraudulent charges on your account. Do this as soon as possible because you will not be liable if the card has not been used yet. To ensure further security, change your usernames and passwords associated with the compromised card.
- Inform Credit Monitoring Services of the Situation
To keep your identity secure, you should notify credit monitoring services about your lost or stolen wallet. These agencies will create a fraud alert on your file to help prevent fraudulent activity. Also consider putting a credit freeze on your credit reports to prevent new creditors from opening a new line of credit in your name.
- File a Police Report
If you think your wallet has been stolen, file a police report to establish an official record of the incident. Let them know when and how it was stolen and anything else that pertains to what happened.
- Prevent This from Happening Again
To keep this stressful situation from happening again, only keep items in your wallet that you need and routinely use. Never keep your social security card, passport or birth certificate in your wallet, unless you need them on a particular day. Consistently check your credit card statements to monitor possible fraudulent activity.