You don't think it will ever happen to you — and then it does. You lose your wallet. One minute you're walking around with your wallet securely in your pocket, and then next, it's gone. And you didn't even realize it was missing until it came time for you to pay for something. At first, you might panic. But, instead, stay calm and take these ten steps below right away.
1. Call Your Debit Card Issuer
Anyone who gets hold of your debit card can do a lot of damage quickly. When losing your wallet (or if it is stolen), your first step should be to call the credit union or whichever financial institution issued your debit card to you. Let them know you think your card may have been stolen. The financial institution will usually cancel your card right away and issue you a new one with a different account number. They may review any recent purchases listed on your account with you to determine if you made the purchases or if they were fraudulent charges.
If you think you misplaced your card and aren’t sure if you want to cancel the current debit card right away, you can utilize Genisys Card Controls and turn your card off with the press of a button. This will prevent any new purchases to your account.
2. Contact Your Credit Card Companies
Call your credit card companies to let them know you lost your wallet and your credit cards. You don't want to close or cancel your credit account with them, as this could affect your credit reports. Instead, request the credit card companies to suspend your current cards and issue you new ones.
3. Activate Fraud Alerts
Set up fraud alerts as soon as possible once you realize your wallet is lost or stolen. You can do this through the major credit-reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). You can also download the Card Controls app and set up eAlerts to track your card usage and turn your card on and off with the click of a button.
4. File a Police Report
It's very important you file a police report to ensure you're protected against identity theft. Once you file a police report, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, and you can fill out an Identity Theft Affidavit. This document allows you to prove to businesses and creditors that you were a victim of identity theft.
5. Report Your Social Security Card Stolen or Lost
While you should never carry your Social Security card in your wallet, if you did have your card in your wallet, you’ll want to be extra vigilant. You can receive a new card through the Social Security Administration, but it will be unlikely that you receive a new number. New numbers are typically provided in extreme cases only. As a result, it’s highly recommended that you enroll in identity theft protection if your Social Security card is stolen.
6. Check for Unusual Activities on Your Credit Reports
Should you lose your wallet, you must review your credit report to ensure nobody uses your identity to apply for loans or open new credit lines without you knowing. You can obtain a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) at www.AnnualCreditReport.com to verify all activity.
7. List All Contents of Your Wallet
Chances are, like most individuals, you were carrying many different cards in your wallet. While some aren't that significant, such as punch cards for free gas or coffee, others are, for example, your health insurance cards. Make a list of everything you were carrying in your wallet and begin replacing what you absolutely require.
8. Freeze Your Credit
When you freeze your credit report, lenders are blocked from accessing your credit report. Should fraudsters attempt to open a loan in your name, the lender will be unable to pull your credit and, likewise, be unable to grant the loan. You can place a freeze on your credit report by contacting each of the three major credit bureaus (www.Equifax.com, www.Experian.com, and www.TransUnion.com). You can remove the freeze whenever you choose.
9. Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles
If your driver’s license was lost or stolen, you’ll want to obtain a new one by contacting the Department of Motor Vehicles. The requirements for getting a new license vary by state, so be sure to visit your local DMV website to determine what documentation is necessary. If you filed a police report due to your wallet being stolen, bring a copy of the report with you to the DMV.
10. Consider Taking Out Identity Theft Protection
Even if you've reported your lost or stolen debit and credit cards to your financial institution, you could still be susceptible to fraud. Thieves can steal your identity by using other items in your wallet, such as your driver’s license or health insurance cards. You may want to consider enrolling in identity theft protection and credit monitoring services for a year to ensure you’re safe. In exchange for the monthly fee, you’ll have greater peace of mind knowing your financial accounts and credit score are protected.
Losing your wallet is both frustrating and scary and is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. If your wallet was recently lost or stolen, please utilize Card Controls or contact us immediately. Our team will walk you through the steps you’ll need to take to mitigate potential financial loss and prevent identity theft.
© Genisys Credit Union and www.genisyscu.org, 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Genisys Credit Union and www.genisyscu.org with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.