What to Do if Your Wallet is Lost or Stolen

March 2011

Introduction

Losing a wallet can put you at a serious risk for identity theft, especially if there is a chance it was stolen. It is important to act quickly to protect your personal information and keep from being financially responsible for any fraudulent charges that are made.

File a Police Report

This is the first step you should take when you realize that your wallet is missing. The quicker you file a police report, the better your chances will be of avoiding financial responsibility for any unauthorized charges that take place after you lose your wallet. If you suspect someone has stolen your wallet, be sure to give the authorities as many details as possible, as this will be your only proof that someone has stolen your wallet from you.

Know What Was in Your Wallet

This is an important question to ask, as most debit, credit, and ATM cards all have different policies and methods of cancellation. Try to think of every single card you had in your wallet including your driver’s license and social security card. Having a separate written list of your cards is a good idea, as it allows you to immediately begin contacting the companies you have an account with. If you do not contact the required agencies immediately upon realizing your wallet is missing, you will have a more difficult time avoiding unauthorized charges and trying to protect your personal information.

Cancel Your Accounts

Every credit, debit, and ATM card that you had in your wallet needs to be canceled as soon as possible to avoid fraudulent charges. Most companies have an emergency number that you can call any time to report a lost or stolen card. After you have canceled every card that was in your wallet, you can request new ones. The new cards will have different account numbers than the lost ones in case someone has found your wallet and is trying to use your cards to make unauthorized purchases.

What About My Social Security Card and Driver’s License?

If these two cards were in your wallet, especially your social security card, you are at a very high risk for identity theft. It is best to call all three credit bureaus and have them put a fraud alert on your credit report to help you monitor unauthorized charges and account. You should obtain both a replacement driver’s license and social security card after you are sure that no one is trying to use your information to commit identity theft.

Immediate Identity Theft Monitoring

Losing your wallet can cause serious problems, but knowing how to react to the situation can keep you from falling victim to identity theft and fraudulent purchases. Acting quickly and taking the proper steps when you lose your wallet can keep you from being responsible for charges that were not authorized by you.
If your wallet is stolen, immediately signing up for the myID.com identity theft monitoring service can help provide identity theft protection with instant, real-time alerts when an account is opened with your information.

To proactively prevent your information from being exposed or stolen, consider myID.com before the situation gets out of control.

Resources

Identity Theft And Your Social Security Number
Federal Trade Commission: What To Do If Your Personal Information Has Been Compromised
Equifax
Experian
TransUnion