You’ve lost your wallet or it’s been stolen….and your first instinct is to panic. But resist this urge. Instead, take the following steps after your wallet has gone missing. If you do, it will help minimize the damage if someone has stolen your wallet, possibly with your driver’s license, credit cards and other important pieces of personal identification inside it.
The following is a checklist to help you in the event that your wallet does get stolen.
Call your Bank or Credit Card Company right away
For stolen or lost credit cards, call your credit card issuer using the phone number on the back of your card or the one listed online. The credit card company will likely block your card to prevent fraud, issue you a new card and ask you to change your PIN. Visa, Mastercard and American Express have a zero-liability policy for fraud, so once you flag the scam transactions, you won’t be on the hook for any of the money.
It’s better to be safe than sorry.
After that’s done, make sure you get new cards sent to you ASAP with brand new account numbers. You’ll want the same credit limits as before, the same (or lower) APR, and any miles that you accrued to be transferred.
Finally, if any of those cards were used for automatic debits, you need to inform those companies within a day or two. If you don’t, your account will not be paid, as the card will be rejected. You could go past due and owe fees, or even have your service suspended. If it’s a debt that doesn’t get paid, your APR could shoot up, or you could get a black mark on your credit score.
Contact your credit bureau and have fraud alerts placed on your credit reports
To avoid fraudulent charges affecting your credit score, you should contact Equifax and TransUnion as well. These credit reporting agencies need to know about your loss immediately.
With a fraud alert in place, any creditor will be forced to verify your identifty before approving any new credit. In most cases, this is done with a phone call to a number you put on file with the fraud alert and makes it almost impossible for the thief to run up huge charges on your behalf.
Here are the following numbers you will need:
Report the Loss to Authorities
After the above have been completed, contact the local authorities. Although this won’t be on the top of their list, It’s to provide evidence in your favor should you happen to become victom of identity theft or fraud. Trust me, The police won’t be dispatching a crime squad to retrieve your wallet, but letting them know will never hurt.
Report your missing driver’s license
I’m willing to bet that every person that can drive, keeps their license in their wallet, and it’s something that can be used in identify theft and fraud. When your wallet is lost or stolen, call the DMV as soon as possible to report the loss. If you can, try and get to the DMV in person. They will be able to process your application quicker.
They will follow steps to reissue your license.
Is your SIN card in your wallet? Inform the Authorities
If you are someone that carries your sin card in your wallet, you need to report that loss immediately. If you’ve lost a SIN card or confirmation letter, Service Canada will not replace the Social Insurance Number they will reissue a confirmation letter. The only time they will give you a new number, is if you can prove that your SIN was stolen or being used in identity theft.
To replace a lost SIN card or confirmation letter you’ll need to:
You’ll receive a SIN confirmation letter that same visit and it is free. The government no longer issues cards if you lost a SIN card.
If your SIN was stolen or you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, Service Canada recommends that you:
- Report this to the police.
- Review your bank account and credit cards for any unusual activity.
- Watch your mail for any changes or disruptions.
- Get a credit report to check for unusual activity.
It is important to keep your SIN card or confirmation of SIN letter safe and report a missing card or letter right away. If someone finds your card or letter they could use the information to commit fraud against you or someone else.
List everything in your wallet.
There are other items in your wallet that may seem insignificant but could come back to haunt you. These include memberships to movie rental stores, work ID cards and access badges, medical insurance cards, computer passwords, and padlock keys.
Do you have keys in your wallet?
If you had keys in your wallet, replace the lock to where those keys open. Don’t take any chances or you could experience even more losses.
You can easily do this yourself these days; stores like Home Depot and Lowes have a vast selection of locks. Or choose a reputable locksmith to do it for you.
Some Steps You Can Take to Prepare Before You Lose Your Wallet
- Don’t have anything in your wallet you don’t need.
- Scan or photocopy everything that’s in your wallet.
- Try a “lost wallet” app.