The moment you realize that your purse or wallet is missing or stolen, panic will most likely kick in. If you are like most people almost half of your life is in your purse or wallet. Debit cards, driver’s license, ID, credit cards, insurance cards, etc. are all in there and if they were to fall into the wrong hands, it could be devastating for you.
The least that can happen if your purse was stolen would be to lose some money. However, you could be a victim of fraud and identity theft that could have repercussions for a long time. So, what should you do in case the worst ever happens? The following are 9 things that you need to do immediately your purse or wallet is stolen.
- Find Out Whether It is Actually Stolen
It is important to verify that your purse or wallet is indeed stolen and you have not just misplaced it. You should first call some of the places that you have been recently such as the gym, mall, stores, restaurants, etc. People usually hand in purses or wallets if they find them. So, before you proceed, ensure that you have checked all places that it could be and know for sure that it’s gone forever.
- Call the Issuers of Your Debit, Credit, and ATM Cards
People will advise you to immediately cancel your cards, but it is not the best idea. Cancelling the cards puts wheels in motion that may leave you in a mess, particularly with your credit score. What you should do is report the cards as stolen or lost, which is not the same as canceling. Every card issuer has a procedure for suspending the numbers to keep your money safe.
- Put a Credit Freeze or Fraud Alert on Your Accounts
You need to notify the 3 major credit reporting bureaus about the loss immediately. If there’s a fraud alert in place, creditors will need to verify your identity before they approve any new credit. It is typically done with a phone call to a number that you put on file with the fraud alert that makes it virtually impossible for a criminal to run up huge bills on your behalf.
- Report the Theft or Loss to the Local Authorities
Never trivialize your loss as something that law enforcement officials don’t have time to deal with. The reason for reporting your theft or loss to the police is to provide evidence supporting you should you become a victim of fraud or identity theft. In case it happens, you don’t to find yourself explaining why you never bothered to report the loss. When you finish filing the report, keep a copy for your records.
- Visit Your Local DMV to Report a Missing Driver’s License
A driver’s license is an important document that criminals can use to commit fraud and identity theft in your name. Unfortunately, most people keep their licenses in their purse or wallet. So, ensure that you get in touch with your local DMV as quickly as possible to report the loss. While you can always call, it is always better to have somebody drive you there so that your application can be processed faster. The steps involved in reissuing a license vary from one state to the next. The DMV will also be asked to file a police report too.
- Change the Locks If Your Keys Are Missing
If your purse or wallet contained a copy of your house key, you shouldn’t risk a break in. Even if your purse or wallet is returned intact, somebody could have easily copied your key. It is actually a known way to rob a house, steal the purse or wallet, note down the address from the driver’s license, make a copy of the key, and hand it over to the police. If you are sure that house keys were stolen along with your purse, make it a point to change your locks. If your car keys went missing, your car might be at risk of being stolen, so get in touch with your local car dealer or reputable garage for their assistance.
- Inform the Authorities If Your Social Security Card Is Missing
Most people know their Social Security Number (SSN) by heart and actually have no reason to carry their card with them wherever they go. However, if your SSN card was in your purse when it was stolen, you should report the loss immediately. The Social Security Administration (SSA) won’t issue a new number, so calling them won’t help prevent ID theft and fraud in your name, which is why the steps above are so important. You can order a new card at https://online-application.org.
- Order Your Credit Reports
You are entitled to 3 free credit reports every year, one from each of the three major credit bureaus. The easiest way for you to obtain your credit reports is visiting the Annual Credit Report website. Then. Take a closer look at your credit report to identify any possible fraudulent spending. From there, you can take appropriate measures in an attempt at trying to rectify the situation.
- Replace Your Old Purse with a New One
New is a relative term here. You might be having another perfectly good purse or wallet at home that you have not been using or you may have to go out there and buy one. You can even decide to make one using various materials. The important thing is that you should get your life back on track by filling your new purse or wallet with replacement cards, checks and other important items you had in the old wallet.
Having your purse or wallet stolen can be quite devastating, but things can be worse if your personal documents are used to commit crimes in your name. If you wish to ensure that you are adequately protected in case your purse or wallet is ever stolen, do the 9 things discussed here immediately after the theft or loss happens.