Protecting Your Identity After Losing Your Wallet
We are all busy and going a mile a minute with brains that are overstimulated, so it’s not hard to misplace something, drop something and not notice or even have it taken without realizing what is happening until it’s too late.
When it comes to your wallet with all that personal information, the panic and anxiety about all the problems it will cause don’t make the situation any better. Now, if you aren’t lucky enough to find it between the seats of the car or in your child’s toy box, it can seem like your world is about to explode.
If you have reason to believe it’s genuinely lost or stolen, then taking immediate action to help protect yourself is essential to preventing further problems like identity theft.
Here are a few things you can do after losing your wallet, along with tips on how to help protect your identity.
Make note of everything that was in your wallet - cards, ID, etc
File a police report - even if there was no emergent situation, you could call the non-emergency number for your local police department. While it’s not likely they will track down your items, if you do experience identity theft, a police report can be used to prove you weren’t responsible for any charges of fraudulent activity.
Report your debit card as lost or stolen - debit cards have less protection than credit cards, and if your account is drained of cash, it’s harder to get that money back. Lock it down before someone can access it.
Report your credit cards as lost or stolen but don’t cancel the cards or close the accounts. This is an entirely different process with different consequences.
Consider freezing your credit to prevent anyone from accessing new credit in your name (including yourself). It’s an excellent stopgap to avoid identity theft immediately after your wallet is lost or stolen.
Replace your IDs - you may need to prove you filed for a lost or stolen wallet when getting a replacement ID, so this is another reason a police report helps.
If your Social Security number was compromised, you need to report it stolen and take advantage of credit freezing and identity theft protection services. You won’t ever get a new number, but you can get a new card.
An extra step to take in knowing whether or not you need to be worried about compromised cards or identity theft is by having fraud alerts and monitoring. IdentityIQ provides real-time monitoring and alerts that will let you immediately if there is a risk you need to address. They are creating peace of mind for millions, whether it’s a lost wallet or a hacker on the internet.
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