One day, you’re out and about, running errands and enjoying some time to yourself. You’re at a local store, preparing to pay for your items, but as you reach into your pants pocket you realize your wallet isn’t there. You proceed to check your jacket pockets and even look on the floor to see if you dropped your wallet. Then your heart sinks once you realize you’ve either lost your wallet or have become the unfortunate victim of a stealthy pickpocket.
One of the most stressful events that can happen to you is getting your wallet stolen. It holds your cash and credit, debit, and insurance cards. What should you do if someone steals your wallet? Here are some steps you should take immediately after you discover the theft.
Take stock of what was in your wallet. The Identity Theft Resource Center says even if your wallet is later returned, you should still take steps to reduce your risk of identity theft. Sensitive information contained in your wallet may have been copied by a thief for later use.
Contact your bank and lenders
Immediately contact your bank and creditors to let them know that your wallet was stolen. This is an important step because if thieves get a hold of your credit and debit cards, one of the first things they will do is go on a shopping spree at your expense. One thing you should do before you’re ever in a situation like this is to copy the front and back of all your credit and debit cards as well as your driver’s license. When you speak to a bank representative, they will likely ask for your card number and security code so they can verify your identity.
File a police report
Provide a list of what was in your wallet to your local police department. Also provide a copy of the police report to the credit reporting agencies. This report can help prove that you are not responsible for unauthorized charges.
Alert the credit reporting agencies
Next, contact one of the three credit reporting agencies and ask for a fraud alert to be placed on your credit report, which makes it tougher for a thief to open up a new account in your name. You also have the option of requesting a freeze, which blocks access to your report. Make sure to provide a copy of your police report to be placed in your credit file. It won’t be necessary to get in touch with all three credit reporting agencies because the one you contact will alert the other two.
Request new identification
Amidst all the activity, don’t forget to request new identification cards. Ask your bank to provide credit and debit cards with your picture on it if they have this option.
Monitor your credit report and bank statements
Read your credit report, credit card, and bank statements regularly. Know that if you are a victim of identity theft and your report is inaccurate as a result, you’ll be eligible to receive a free credit report in addition to the free report consumers are entitled to receive every 12 months.