What to Do If Your Wallet is Lost or Stolen
Posted by Gail | Filed under When Ca-Ca Happens
I got an email from a woman who lost her wallet last week. I thought you might all want a heads-up on what to do if this happens to you… it takes some prep.
Time is crucial. As soon as you discover your wallet is missing, you need to contact your credit card companies, your bank, the credit bureau and the police. Since you don’t want to waste time searching for all the phone numbers you need, you need to have a file ready. Photocopy your credit cards and all your other identification, both front and back, and write the contact information you need on the photocopy. Include the phone numbers for your bank (with your bank account numbers) and your credit bureaus (all of them) in your file. Hide the file in a safe place in your home.
While the police won’t do much, it is important that your loss is on record in case credit-card companies investigate fraudulent purchases or you must prove the date of your loss.
Call your bank and notify them if you’ve lost a chequebook and/or bank card. Some people even take the extra step of transferring their banking to a new account so that if hucksters try to use the old account information, they can’t. Your bank should be able to reassure you by talking about fraud prevention steps you and they will take.
While it’s a no-brainer to cancel all your lost or stolen credit cards, most people don’t think about the other cards in their wallet – loyalty cards, their car club membership, their health club card – that can be used as ID or is linked online to personal information. How happy would you be to find out someone else was using your video membership card and never bothered to return the videos?
Don’t forget you’ll have to replace your driver’s license. Here’s a link to all the provincial ministries of transportation. And since you’ll likely need two pieces of ID to get a new provincial health card, you’ll have to make a note to do that once you’ve received replacement ID. Here’s a link to provincial ministry of health sites.
Your credit bureaus can place a fraud alert on your file that will stop thieves from using your personal information to secure a line of credit or even a mortgage. The fraud alert doesn’t stop you from obtaining credit; creditors will call the phone number you put on the alert to ensure it’s you seeking the credit. You need to call all the bureaus to be sure you’re covered. Here are the numbers again:
Monitor your credit report over the next few months to make sure there’s no stuff going down you need to know about. If you have to pay a couple of times to get your credit report, believe me, it’s worth every penny.
Everyone has days when their attention is on too many things. I know several people who have walked out of stores without their wallets, without their cards, only to have salespeople come running after them. I’ve been derelict myself. The problem is that it only takes one slip to sink your ship. Don’t leave your wallet, your handbag, your briefcase in open view in your office. Don’t leave your purse sitting in the grocery cart while you turn your back to pick out some nice fresh apples. Don’t leave your wallet or purse in your car, ever. If you’ve gotten away with it so far, you’ve been lucky. The next time, your whole financial identity could become unraveled.