Losing your purse or wallet is scary and stressful. You may initially panic as it holds some of the most important things in your possession, including your credit and debit cards, driver’s license or other identification cards, health insurance card and more. However, there are immediate actions you must take once you realize your wallet is lost or stolen.
What if this happens during travel or when you are not in a place to be able to quickly replace bank cards and have no cash? If needed, there are short-term options like line of credit loans that can help you get through an unexpected emergency if you don’t have the savings to cover it.
Contact Your Card Issuer
If your debit card falls into the wrong hands, it can lead to disaster. Immediately call your bank or the issuer of the card and let them know the situation. The issuer will put a freeze on your card or cancel it and provide you with a new card and account number. You can also learn whether your old card has been used since you lost it.
Never wait to take this step. If you procrastinate beyond two days, you can be responsible for any and all fraudulent charges made on your debit card.
Contact Your Bank
You must also contact your bank to determine whether your checking account has seen any activity since you lost your purse or wallet. Take the same steps as when you canceled your card. The bank will put a freeze on your checking account and subsequently close it for you. Afterward, you will have to open a new account, which is a headache due to having to change your automated payments and direct deposits but is necessary.
Contact Your Credit Card Company
Call your credit card company or companies if you have more than one card. Immediately report that you have lost your wallet or believe it was stolen so the company can cancel the card. Also, as per the Fair Credit Billing Act, you aren’t responsible for any fraudulent purchases on your card once you report it missing. If the card has any unauthorized use on it, you can legally only be held for up to $50.
Set Fraud Alerts
Another potential issue you have to worry about is identity theft. Set up fraud alerts with Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, the three major credit bureaus. This will prevent a thief from opening new credit accounts in your name. Generally, you only have to contact one bureau and it will alert the other two. The fraud alerts will last for 90 days for free. If someone tries to open an account in your name, creditors and lenders are required by law to contact you to verify your identity before this can happen.
Get Identity Theft Protection
After all the other steps, you might want to consider getting identity theft protection. There are many options out there to choose from that offer good protection and even emergency funds in the event you lose your wallet or it’s stolen again in the future.
File a Police Report
Finally, you should immediately file a police report. Even if you think the police will never find your missing purse or wallet, making a report can help protect your identity. Obtaining a copy of it can serve as valuable evidence if you file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission after learning your identity has been stolen. You can fill out an Identity Theft Affidavit to alert credits and lenders in your case. A police report can also help if you need to obtain a new driver’s license or even Social Security Card.
Taking these steps if your purse has been stolen is crucial. You will be taking charge in keeping your finances and identity protected.