Lost Your Wallet? Here’s What to Do First

November 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Episodes

Steps to Take When Your Wallet Has Been Lost or Stolen

It used to be simple. What did you do when you lost your wallet?

  1. Go to the DMV to get a new license
  2. Cancel all your credit cards.

The advent of more identity theft has led to a new approach when it comes to losing your wallet.  Now, it’s a good idea to do more than just cancel your credit cards.  So here’s a more complete list.

  1. Call your credit card companies.  Go to Gethuman.com to get the phone numbers of your credit card companies to call them and have your cards canceled.
  2. Go to the DMV to get a new license.  Report your old one as stolen not lost.  I had an issue several years ago where I reported one as lost.  Somehow, someone found my license and tried to use it to get into a bar (they were underage).  So even if your sure yours is lost, I’d still tell them it’s stolen, unless you lost it down a sewer or on Mt. Everest.
  3. Contact any of the credit bureaus to get them to place a 90-day fraud alert on your account.  This fraud alert makes it really hard for someone else to open an account under your name.  I had a fraud alert set on my account a couple of years ago when I went to apply for a new cell phone service.  I could get the service, but the automatic credit check has some new security measures.  I needed to get on the phone with the rep and give all kinds of correct security question answers to prove I was real.  They know a real fraudster just cuts that call short.
  4. It’s not a bad idea to use credit monitoring for a few months just to make sure everything is on the up and up.  I like Score Watch from myFICO.  It’s a bit cheaper than others and has some nice bells and whistles. Plus, you can cancel at anytime.
  5. Once a few months have passed, if nothing bad has happened to your credit account, you have a high probability of being safe.  ID thieves like to move fast, as they know the value of an ID erodes over time.

If someone has misused your Social Security number or other personal information to create credit problems for you, Social Security cannot resolve these issues.  You should contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft. Or, you can call 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338); TTY 1-866-653-4261.

Plus, if you are reading this and haven’t had your wallet stolen, take out your SSN card right now and put it in a safe place.

original photo source: flickr – moff

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