Here’s a list of five quick tips on what to do if your credit card(s) or wallet get stolen…
- Make copies of everything in your wallet, front and back. This is actually a proactive step that you should do right now, before you run into trouble. That way you’ll have a record of what was lost and how to contact the issuers. Just be sure to keep these copies in a safe place.
- Call your card issuers and report the loss. In order to minimize your liability, you should make these calls as soon as you realize that there’s a problem. Can’t remember what was in your wallet? No problem. Just look at your photocopies (Step 1). You might also consider following up with a written account of what’s happened, when you reported it, etc. They should be able to shut down your old accounts, and also issue new cards.
- Place a fraud alert on all three of your credit reports. I’ve posted detailed instructions for placing a fraud alert on your credit record in the past. The good news is that the three agencies should share this information, so you really only have to contact one of them. If you detect fraudulent activity, you might want to extend this to a seven-year victim statement.
- If your Social Security card is missing, report it. Call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-269-0271. Better yet, remove your Social Security card from your wallet right now. No sense in carrying it around with you. Same goes for your driver’s license — if you lose it, call your local DMV. Pronto.
- File a police report. Last but not least, report the loss/theft to your local law enforcement agency (or the police in the area where it occurred).
That’s it. Hopefully you won’t run into any problems, but if you do, this list of tips should help you steer clear of any major problems.