If you lose your wallet or suspect it has been stolen, you know you have to take immediate action, but what exactly do you need to do? Here’s a checklist for the steps you need to take:
Contact all Credit and Debit Card Issuers
The keywords here are “lost” or “stolen,” not “cancel.” Make sure to contact every bank you have a card with, speak with a representative and let them know that the cards are lost. They will in fact cancel your cards and issue you new ones, but canceling cards alone without reporting them lost or stolen could have a bad effect on your credit. Also under federal laws, you are not liable as long as you report the cards lost or stolen before they are used.
File a Police Report
Filing a police report might not be a big help with finding your wallet, but it leaves a paper trail of the incident that helps you when dealing with fraudulent charges or credit issues that pop up as a result of the stolen wallet.
Get Your Credit Monitored ASAP
Contact one of the three major credit bureaus and have your credit monitored for free for 90 days. You can get it monitored for longer if need be:
Equifax or (800) 525-6285
Experian or (888) 397-3742
TransUnion or (800) 680-7289
If you haven’t been checking your credit on a yearly basis, losing a credit card is a good time to start. Get a free annual credit report at the Annual Credit Report site.
Replace ID Cards
In general, it’s a good idea to keep Social Security Cards at home, but if you need to keep ID cards on you, you’ll need to replace them if stolen.
To replace a Social Security Card, visit the Social Security Card site and complete the forms.
To replace a Green Card, visit the I-90 site and fill out the 1-90 form to get your card replaced.
Replacing your SSC won’t protect you against identity theft if someone gets a hold of your number, so it’s a good idea to take extra precautions. You can do this by calling the Protection Unit at 1-800-908-4490 and filing a lost card with the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-ID-THEFT
We all have unique financial and residency situations. Talk directly with legal experts about how to protect your identity before it’s stolen.