We all hope the day never comes, but if your wallet is stolen like mine was recently, you need to know what to do. It's a terrifying experience no matter how it happens, and it leaves you feeling violated and vulnerable. But take a deep breath and read on. There are nine things that should be done if your wallet is stolen to protect you, your identity, and your money.
Call your bank and have them cancel all bank cards immediately if your wallet is stolen. Even if it's on a weekend, letting them know what's happened will allow them to monitor your account for any suspicious activity, which you should also be doing from home. As soon as they are within normal operating hours, you can call and order a new debit or credit card.
Sometimes you'll have a bank-issued card that can be handled through the bank, but chances are you get your credit cards directly through a major card issuer. They will cancel the current cards, ask you some questions to monitor your transactions, and then issue you new cards as well.
You need to know exactly what was lost so that you can cover all your bases. Write down a list of every type of card you had: debit, credit, and insurance. Make sure to list whether you had your driver's license, Social Security card, and any other form of identification in there. If your license is stolen, you'll need to get a new driver's license number to protect yourself.
Luckily, all you have to do is contact one of these credit bureaus and they'll contact the others. It's important they know that you aren't on a spending spree. The fraud alert will be good for 90 days.
Experian - 1-888-397-3742 (TDD 1-800-972-0322)
Equifax - 1-888-766-0008 (TDD 1-800-255-0056 and request connection to Auto Disclosure Line at 1-800-685-1111)
Transunion - 1-800-680-7289 (TDD 1-877-553-7803)
In order to get a new driver's license number, you have to file a report with the police. Usually you have to go down to the police station, but they do make house calls if you're unable to come there, especially if your license is gone. They'll give you a temporary license card and within a few days the report will be ready for you to pick up.
Go to the DMV and fill out the paperwork for a lost or stolen license, specifically requesting that you get a new license number (you must have the police report and a secondary form of identification for this). They'll take a new picture so make sure you look hot and work that camera, girl!
If your Social Security card is stolen, contact the Social Security Administration immediately. They may decide to assign you a new number, but most likely they will just issue you a new card. Never carry your Social Security card in your wallet or on your person unless you absolutely have to. The results could be a massive headache.
Most store cards are limited to that store, but it's always good to contact the store and let them know what's happened. Usually the cards themselves will have the number on the back and you can have them send you a new one quickly. It'd be salt in the wound to find out you didn't get any of the loot from that $200.00 shopping spree at Kohl's!
I've learned to keep my purse zipped up and guarded at all times when I'm out and about. I also purchased a less noticeable wallet. I know those bright, happy colors are fun, but they are easy targets for predators. Wearing a purse that wraps around the front or can tuck under your arm is also a good idea.
Hopefully you've never experienced losing your wallet or having it stolen, and hopefully you never do. But if your wallet is stolen, this list of nine things will make sure that you, and only you, have legal access to your information, and maybe it'll take some of the stress out of the situation. It's not fun, but don't let it get you too down. Things always have a way of working themselves out.
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