A couple of years ago I misplaced my wallet and the horror of losing my debit and credit cards, driver’s license, and even the little bit of cash that was in it caused me to run around the house tearing up each room desperate to find it. Days later I finally found it it wedged between the seats of my car, but by then, I had already cancelled all my cards.
If you ever lose your wallet, there are steps you can take to minimize the hair-raising plight.
The first thing you should do is to take a deep breath and then grab a pen and paper. Retrace your steps and write down all recent activities. Where and when did you last use your wallet? Did you have it at work that day? Search your house, driveway, car and yard. Be sure to check coat pockets, drawers, in between cushions or under furniture.
Call any stores, restaurants, bars or gas stations that you visited to see if you left it behind and a Good Samaritan turned it in.
Once you have exhausted all possibilities, it is time to accept the fact you must enter the next stage: notify, cancel and reapply.
Start a new list of all cards, online accounts, subscription services along with everything you kept in your wallet.
Call Missouri Central Credit Union and any additional financial institutions about debit cards and checking accounts:
Call MCCU or any other institutions immediately and have them freeze your account. A freeze usually is only valid for 24 hours but it gives you a chance to collect your outstanding payments and recent transactions so you can make sure those payments clear. The sooner you call, the faster your credit union can flag your account and lower your chances of losing money to fraudulent activity.
Bring your current debit transactions and check ledger into the branch to review with a Member Service Representative. They will review your documents and history so you can decide what payments are pending and valid. Once the review is completed, your account will be closed and a new one will be opened.
Be sure to update any direct deposits, direct debits, automatic payments or outstanding payments with your new account information.
Be vigilant about monitoring your account for unauthorized debit card transactions and report them to the credit union.
MCCU important phone numbers:
- Account Representative to freeze account: 816-246-0002
- Report a lost or stolen Visa Credit Card: 1-877-537-8339
- Report a lost or stolen Debit or ATM Card: 1-800-472-3272
Call your credit cards:
Call your credit card companies to report lost cards. They will close the account and issue you a new account number and send you a new card. Ask customer service to review your latest transactions to see if your card has been used since you lost it. If you uncover unauthorized charges, you will need to file paperwork to dispute the charges. Continue to monitor your accounts and alert the credit card company of any fraudulent purchases.
File a police report:
If you think it is possible that you wallet was stolen you should immediately file a police report. This will provide a safeguard if someone tries to steal your identity.
Set up fraud alerts with national credit bureaus:
There are 3 major credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion Credit, or Equifax. Call each credit bureau and ask them to set up alerts under your account in order to stop anyone from setting up fraudulent accounts under your name. They will monitor your accounts and call you if an application for a new credit card is submitted to confirm that you are the applicant. You can also request a free credit report to check for any unusual activity.
National Credit Bureaus phone numbers:
- Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
- Experian: 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
If your social security card was in your wallet you’ll need to replace it: Click on link below and fill out the application form. There is a fee to replace your card.
Replace your driver’s license or state ID card:
The procedure to replace your driver’s license or state ID card varies from state-to-state. You may have to visit your local DMV and bring required identification such as: passport, permanent resident card or birth certificate. You will need to fill out a form, show proper id and pay a fee. Some states may allow you to apply online or through the mail.
Check your state’s requirements:
Sign up for IdentityTheft.gov
IdentityTheft.gov can help you report and recover from identity theft.
Once you create an account, you will be asked questions about what is lost or stolen. This website will send you an individual detailed recovery plan.
They will walk you through the recovery steps, update your plan as needed and track your progress. To learn more about identity theft prevention tips and access free resources for victims, click here: https://identitytheft.gov/
Theft Protection Services
Consider purchasing a identity theft protection credit monitoring service such as PrivacyGuard or LifeLock.
They will watch for identity theft, monitor your credit, and give you access to your credit score but most importantly: they will insure you against your loss.
You can find individual plans for consumers and businesses.
Replace health insurance cards, library cards, gym membership cards, etc.
Tip of the Day
Copy or scan all the important documents you keep in your wallet so you have records. This makes the process of reporting and replacing valuable cards a whole lot easier.
When you lose your cards, you lose your identity and the financial freedom to purchase things you need or desire.
But resist the temptation of beating yourself up…it happens to the best of us. Instead, dive into reporting and replacing your important items and you will soon be in full operation again.