What Should You Do If Your Wallet Is Stolen?

Somewhere between that party last night and work this morning, you discovered that your wallet was stolen. Your credit and debit cards, driver’s license, social security card, various club cards and your car insurance papers were in there…What do you do now? While the first thing to come to mind might be to try to head back to where you think you lost it, you might be better off immediately putting into action a plan to stop identity theft and the spending of your cash by a thief who may have taken your wallet. Here are some tips you can use if and when your wallet ever goes missing:

1. File a police report right away. Fill out a sheet telling them what your wallet contained, and be sure to take a copy of it home with you in case any of your creditors need a copy.

2. File a Fraud Alert or Credit Freeze on your credit file to all three credit bureaus. This will let creditors know that something may have happened to your identity, and they should take extra steps to verify anything that gets opened or applied for in your name. Here are the numbers of each agency:

Call 888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)

Call 800-525-6285

Call 800-680″‘7289

3. Contact your local bank and ask if you should close your account and open a new one. You can request new checking and savings account numbers, ATM cards, checks, etc..

4. If you are missing your driver’s license, be sure to contact the DMV to both place a stolen card alert in your file and to order a replacement license.

5. Notify your credit card companies. Request replacement cards with new account numbers, and be sure to update any companies that charge you on a monthly basis for anything with the new number!

Other companies/services/cards to consider checking on, depending on your situation:

Car insurance company
Health insurance
Library card
Military ID
Green card
Birth Certificate
Medicare card
Health club card

It is inevitable that at some point in your life, you will lose an important document, paper, wallet, or purse. The key is to be ready for when that happens – somewhere in a safe place in your home, you should have things like a list of all your credit cards and their customer service phone numbers, a list of all your bank account numbers, and anything else you might quickly need information for. This is so when an incident occurs, you are more than ready to stop anything worse from happening to you.

So, this leads me to you guys – have any of you ever had your wallet stolen, and what other steps did you take to get everything back on track?

Photo by The Consumerist

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Comments (16)

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  1. You shouldn’t be carrying your social security card in you wallet and this is a big reason why. My wallet was stolen a couple years ago. Luckily, I just had a couple credit cards and my driver’s license in it so there weren’t too many calls to be made.

  2. claire says:

    I was just about to second TFM’s comment on the social security card, but I would extend it to any card, for that matter, that doesn’t figure into your daily needs/uses. Even those that pose less of an identity/credit/monetary problem if lost can be left at home most days of the week. It lightens your load and minimizes the little things you have to replace should a theft occur.

  3. obsolete29 says:

    Agreed with the above posters. Prevention goes a long way. Don’t carry your social security card on you unless you specifically need it for something. My wallet has my drivers license, debit card and insurance card. That’s it besides a little bit of cash. If I’m traveling for business I’ll also carry my company issued credit card. Nothing in my wallet has my social security number printed on it.

  4. My wife lost her wallet when we were in an NBA arena for a game. I was 99% sure that the credit cards would be used and the money taken. Turns out that everything was still in the wallet in lost and found, including cash, change, and credit cards.

    The one thing that she realized is how much of a pain it would be. She would have to go to the DMV and get all the other cards re sent.

  5. david says:

    Yea, the biggie is not even carry the SS card, but so many people do!

  6. PT says:

    very bookmarkable post. SU-ed. i like the idea of a good list of all your accounts….maybe add a special notation on the one’s that are actually in your wallet.

  7. Mobody says:

    I made a trip to Texas a couple of years ago and thought I dropped my wallet. I tore my rental car apart, under seats, in between seats, everywhere I looked. Retraced my steps to see if it dropped on the street. Finally I reported the loss to the police. I panicked because I was supposed to fly home in 2 days and I had no ID.

    I was lucky in two respects. I had a passport that I had tucked into a separate area of my purse, and I had one credit card loose in the bottom of my purse that I had sloppily not put back into my wallet, so I had some way to pay for my hotel and my trip was not ruined. I went to the public Library, got onto my online banking, got all my account information and phone numbers, cancelled all my credit cards.

    Oh and I found my wallet, 24 hrs later under the seat in the car in a place I had already looked at least half a dozen times. I chalked it up to the gremlies. But it was scary to feel so stranded.

  8. Kathy says:

    Another good idea on the prevention side is to make a copy of everything you DO carry in your wallet in case you need it later. This is kept at home. In the event you need it at a later date, you will have all the account numbers and related information available.

  9. david says:

    Absolutely, great idea Kathy!

  10. Cathy Sykes says:

    What astounds me are the people who carry a dozen credit cards; not only three or four bank cards, but a half-dozen store cards as well. Of course, every time you buy something at a store, the clerk asks if you have that store’s card. My answer always is “No, but I have a Mastercard. Don’t you accept that?” Of course they do.

    What really shocked me was when I found out that many stores don’t close your card account if you report your card stolen! They just send you another card. If you lose your store cards, be sure to check this when you report them stolen to the store. And don’t accept “I don’t know” as an answer.

    Cathryn Sykes
    Publisher and Editor
    Learn the financial skills
    you need to cut debt,
    increase your financial
    security and have
    “money to spare.”

  11. […] presents What Should You Do If Your Wallet Is Stolen? posted at My Two […]

  12. sasha diaz says:

    My purse was stolen yesterday and I am freaking out. I am very scared and feel vulnerable. I only had 140 dollars in cash and my ATM card, 2 credit cards (a mastercard and gas card) and 2 gift cards, a borders card and my CVS discount card, besides my license, obviously. What really scares me is that I had my building access card in the change pocket of my wallet, so with my license and building access card missing all at once, I definitely feel vulnerable, luckily my husband is a gun man! lol, seriously though, it is a definite fear factor in my book!

  13. […] What to do about a lost wallet – @ My Two Dollars […]

  14. margie says:

    my pocketbook was stolen today everything was in it from wallet to my cell phone i feel so sad and helpless.i reported and cancell everything but dont think i will sleep any better.

  15. […] What to do about a lost wallet – @ My Two Dollars […]

  16. Jayson says:

    Well I lost my wallet right after I moved to arizona were I only know one person and I lost my wallet on the city bus I file a police report and I call the bus station lost and found, I can’t find a job that doesn’t want me to have an I.d. So I’m broke and can’t afford to buy the I.d, what should I do my social card wwas in my wallet because I’d just got to pheonix so I had to transport it with me so I have no way to prove who I am I feel like an illegal and the worst part is I am now homeless wow my life, any hints on what I should do?