Chances are you’ll find yourself in this bind at least once in your life — your wallet goes missing, along with some of your riskiest possessions.
Your driver’s license, ID card, work ID and several credit cards are likely in your wallet, and if it goes missing, you become easily susceptible to identity fraud.
Your very first step should be to call your bank. You’ll need to request a freeze on your bank account to make sure whoever picks up your wallet is not able to take out any money or use your debit card/checks anywhere they would be accepted. If fraudulent charges have already occurred, then our bank can flag them and start the process to claim them as fraudulent and remove them from your account or credit you back the money.
Next up: Call all your credit card companies. This one is almost even more important, as fraudsters can do tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage in a matter of minutes with a credit card that isn’t theirs. A debit card or bank card is more difficult as it requires a pin for most transactions, whereas a credit card does not. That means as soon as it’s stolen, you should act as quickly as possible. Notify your card companies that any charges past a certain time are not yours and that you are not in possession of your card.
Once you call your credit companies, it’s best to file a police report. Filing a police report will help you should there be a need for any insurance claims down the line, and can even help you locate your wallet in the longshot someone turns it in. Head down to your nearest precinct to do it in person.
The next report you should file should be a fraud report with the credit bureaus. This alerts them that charges after a certain date/time are fraudulent and will importantly not count against your credit score. Their numbers can be found below:
Experian: Call 1-888-397-3742
Equifax: Call 1-888-766-0008
Depending on the severity of any possible fraudulent charges, a credit freeze is something you also might consider. This freezes any reporting on your credit, as well as inquiries, which means criminals won’t be able to take out possibly damaging loans in your name.
Credit monitoring services are also a good idea if you have been frauded more than once. These websites offer round-the-clock monitoring of your credit card usage to determine whether or not something seems out of place. It also serves as an extra layer of protection in the event your wallet goes missing again.
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