We’ve all been there.
We’ve all experienced the anxiety while trying to find our lost wallet, the frustration at not being able to, the dread of facing the consequences, and the lingering regret due to losing it in the first place. Sure, it may seem funny when you look back at it. However, losing your wallet—apart from the major inconvenience it may cause—can be financially devastating.
When you lose the wallet, you don’t just lose the cash in it. You lose half your life. From credit cards to driving license, and from insurance card to ID, all lost in an instant. The least that can happen is that you lose your valuable cash. At its worst, however, the consequences of losing your wallet may include identity theft and major fraud.
But some of the worst potential effects of losing your wallet can be avoided if you follow these 5 simple steps:
1. Determine whether it’s stolen, lost forever, or just misplaced
Before you take any steps to prevent some of the worst consequences of losing your wallet, you need to do first things first. And the first step, that many people often miss in the immediate aftermath of realizing they’ve parted company with their wallet, is to assess the situation.
Retrace your footsteps. Determine when exactly it was that you lost your wallet. If possible, try to visit all the locations you visited earlier. You might be wondering why all this is important. You really don’t want to take all the anti-theft measures like cancelling your credit cards or reporting a stolen wallet just before finding your wallet on the bedroom floor.
2. Cancel your debit and credit cards
You may have lost all the cash in your wallet but you are also at the risk of losing more money from your account if you don’t take these steps.
The first thing you should do after being sure that you’ve lost your wallet is to call the bank to cancel your ATM and credit cards to prevent whoever found or stole your wallet from accessing your bank account or spending on your credit card.
3. File a police report
If you’re absolutely sure that your wallet was stolen, never ever hesitate to file a police report. This is one of the most important ways you can prevent identity theft.
Make sure to list everything you lost along with your wallet in the police report.
4. Don’t forget to set up fraud alerts
So now you’ve frozen your credit and debit cards and filed a report with the police. That makes you safe from identity theft, right? Absolutely wrong! Although thief can’t use your existing credit or debit cards, they can always issue new ones using your ID.
This is why it is crucial to set up fraud alerts with the any one of the 3 major credit unions: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
5. Keep an eye on your credit report
While it is important to take the preliminary steps after losing your wallet, you need to keep an eye out for suspicious activity in the long run.
Not all thieves are in a hurry to go on a shopping spree after finding your wallet. Some might even sit on the information to let the danger pass before they make their move. This is why it’s important for you to review your credit report after every few months. If you find any suspicious activity, report to the authorities immediately.