There is nothing worse than the gut-wrenching realization that you have lost your wallet or it has been stolen.
It might be an immediate realization as you watch the train pull out of the station and notice your wallet is not in your pocket.
Or it may be a few hours later when you go to pay for something, and your wallet is nowhere to be seen.
It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are, or when you find out, losing your wallet or having it stolen is a stressful and anxious situation at best and a financially crippling one at worst.
But that being said, there are steps that you can take when you lose your wallet to minimize the potential damage that might occur.
This article will go through the essential things you need to do to minimize the impact and how you can do them quickly and easily.
Five Things to do if you Lose Your Wallet
#1 – Contact Your Debit Card and Credit Card Companies
Firstly, you need to start by contacting your card issuers immediately and informing them that your credit cards and other details have been stolen. Telling them that these items have been stolen is different from closing or canceling credit cards.
If you cancel or close cards instead, this can severely impact your credit reports. However, if you report your card as stolen or lost, your card issuer will suspend your cards and provide you with new ones.
On top of that, they will credit back any charges that have been made fraudulently, but only once they have undertaken a detailed fraud investigation.
Consider any automatic payments you have set up with accounts that can be accessed by your lost cards, and update the payment details of these payments with your new numbers. Otherwise, you might damage your credit score when a payment is declined.
#2 Contact EVERY Bank You Have An Account With
You might not know this, but many banks have terms and conditions that impact how much responsibility you take for unauthorized payments, based on how long it takes you to make a claim.
For example, if you report a missing card in the first 48 hours after it is stolen or lost, you might only be liable for up to $30 in unauthorized payments.
That number might rise if it takes you between two days and two months. You might be liable for as much as $300 in unauthorized payments.
And if you wait even longer than two months, you may be liable for any unauthorized purchases.
With such significant differences in how much money identity theft could cost you, you must contact the bank when you realize your wallet is lost or stolen.
If your wallet contains any cheques, you need to report these to your bank as well. The bank has the power to freeze your chequing account, which will prevent any purchases from being made with cheques with your details on them.
If you want to fully protect yourself from identity theft, the best option available is to shut down your account and create a new one with entirely new numbers.
#3 Set up Fraud Alerts and Credit Monitoring, and Run a Credit Report
Thirdly, you need to make sure that your identity is protected. You can do this by keeping track of your credit reports. This is an essential step if you have lost your wallet, but it is critical if it was stolen.
Begin by logging a security alert on your account via a company such as Experian. Their fraud center will keep the alert active for 90 days.
It is a legal requirement for any of the three credit bureaus to contact each other regarding these alerts. This law means you only need to file one report, covering all three reporting companies.
This alert lets lenders know that they need to implement additional verification steps for any new lines of credit or activity to try and deter any attempts at identity theft.
However, these alerts do not entirely block access, so you could still be at risk if they have enough information to get past these additional checks.
A step further would be to completely freeze your credit, which stops lenders from offering new credit associated with your name and social security number.
#4 – Contact the Local Authorities and Report a Theft, Including the DMV to Replace Your License
The next step you need to take is to file a report with the police. It might seem like a pointless exercise, as you may think they won’t be able to get your property back or will not take your police report seriously.
But that is not the case at all. Filing a report is essential to protecting your identity in the future. If you have the unfortunate scenario that you fall prey to identity thieves again in the future, this police report will act as evidence that it has occurred in the past.
Some banks and credit card issuers may require you to submit a police report as part of their support process.
When you register your police report, expect to be asked about what your wallet looks like, what the contents were, how you lost it or how it was stolen, and any other important details. If you notice your cards have been used and put that on your report, the police may also require you to share the original card locations and numbers at the point these fraudulent transactions took place.
#5 – Get Better Protection in the Future
Finally, if you want to truly make sure you are protected when your wallet gets lost or stolen, you may want to consider working with an identity theft insurance company.
These companies are specifically designed to support you when these sorts of situations occur. The top companies, such as Aura, have 24/7 customer service, ready to help you with whatever the problem may be.
This team of experts will be much better placed to support you than the police and will work tirelessly on your behalf to recover your details or prevent theft as quickly as possible.
Not only that but you will be covered by up to $1 million in insurance. This insurance takes away a lot of the financial stress caused by losing or having your wallet stolen.
The Benefits of Identity Theft Insurance
#1 – Expert Guidance and Support
Identity theft insurers are companies that have one objective, to provide you with expert guidance and support surrounding identity theft.
With that in mind, there is no one better placed to help with a stolen or lost wallet. Their customer service teams are highly trained in the topic of cybercrime, much more so than your average police officer.
If you rely on the police to support you with a topic such as cybercrime when you are a victim of identity theft, you might find yourself pulling your hair out at how slowly everything is going.
Identity theft insurance companies will work round the clock to support you, as it is their sole focus.
#2 – Catch Issues Faster
As well as supporting you when you have been the victim of a cyber attack, these companies are also much better at preventing thefts before they even occur.
Marketing-leading companies such as Aura provide you with alerts and notifications for any suspicious activity. That allows you to easily monitor your credit and personal details around the clock without constantly logging in every few hours.
#3 – Identity Theft Insurance
Finally, there is the peace of mind that insurance brings with it.
Losing your wallet or having it stolen is one of the most stressful situations you will find yourself in, but a lot of that stress fades away when you realize you are insured up to $1 million!
In summary, while the loss of a wallet or having it stolen can be extremely stressful, there are steps that you can take to make sure you are as covered as possible.
Identity theft is no joke, and if left too long, it could cost you thousands of dollars in a matter of minutes. You can do simple things as soon as you notice your wallet has gone, or if you want that added peace of mind, you could also look at investing in identity theft insurance.
Basic plans for many market-leading companies are more than affordable, and if you want elite-level cover, there are more in-depth options as well.