Losing your wallet or purse can be a devastating experience. Not only have
you lost your identification, but also your cash, your credit and debit cards and anything else that may have been inside.
Follow this guide to take back control of some of what you've lost.
- Remember when you last had your wallet. Doing so will help you eliminate
places where you could not have lost it, and concentrate on places where you may have.
- Determine if your wallet is lost or stolen. Make an educated guess. If you
suspect it is stolen, there is little point in searching. You will want to proceed directly to protecting your identity.
- Retrace your steps to the day you lost your wallet. What were you wearing?
Where did you go? When did you take your wallet out of your pocket? Simple questions like these may help.
- Make a call to places you've gone recently (since you last saw your wallet)
including restaurants, theaters, and the like and ask if they have a lost wallet. They will need a description. Even larger
places, like malls, have lost-and-found offices or security centers, call those too.
- Ask people around you if they've seen a wallet. Ask them to keep an eye
out for one, and let you know if they find it.
- Post flyers around your neighborhood offering a reward.
- Act quickly if your wallet cannot be found. The maximum time you will want
to wait is 24 hours as, for many companies, there are deadlines for reporting lost cards.
- Call your bank and report your debit card stolen. It is very important to
do this quickly as, unlike credit cards, the law says that debit cards leave the consumer on the hook if left unreported.
You can be charged for any withdrawals and even overdraft charges. Once you call the bank your debit card liability is reduced
- end your credit and debit cards Call your credit card companies as soon
as you can and cancel your credit cards, especially your store cards. They often have less stringent security policies and
have stricter reporting than many major credit cards. Apply for a new card for the same account if you can.
- Go to the DMV and get a new driver's license. If you get pulled over, the
officer may or may not believe your story of having a lost wallet. Don't take the chance.
- Report your wallet lost or stolen to the police. It may seem like a waste
of time, but having a police report will help you in many areas including insurance claims, liability issues and more.
- Call the credit reporting agencies (credit bureaus) and report your lost
cards and other relevant items. The major credit recording companies include Equifax, Experian and Transunion..
- Buy a new wallet. While you're waiting to find your old one, you'll need
something to keep everything in. If and when you find your old wallet, you can choose which one to use. If you think you will
lose it again, consider purchasing one with a chain, or something that will help prevent losing it in the future. As an affordable
alternative, buy a nylon wallet. They last for years. Put a rubber band around it so you know when it's moved, or buy or make
an ankle holster with a velcro strap to place the wallet in, fasten it around your ankle. Use a money clip with one credit
card in it. As an alternative to buying a new wallet, try making
- Keep your cards separately in a card holder. When you lose a wallet you
can still use your cards, and when you lose cards/cardholder use your wallet. It is very rare to lose both.
- Make sure you write down important account numbers before you lose your
wallet, or check your paper or electronic bills for the account numbers and contact information. In the case that you do lose
your wallet, these numbers will be critical to know. Police officers may accept a driver's license number happily if you've
lost your wallet.
- A simple way to record the contents of your wallet is to photocopy or scan
both the front and back of all your cards. Keep the copy in a safe, but separate place.
- Keep phone numbers on-file for banks, credit card companies, etc. In the
event that you lose your wallet, you'll need these quickly to help prevent anyone else using those cards.
- Don't keep all your cash in your wallet. Get a money clip to hold some of
it in, or keep some at home in a safe place and only carry what you think you may need. This way, you reduce the amount of
cash you may lose if you lose your wallet.
Protect your wallet. Periodically during the day, make sure you still have
your wallet. It takes only a second to do, and it gives you a better chance of finding your wallet if you have just lost it.
Get in the habit of checking regularly: every time you get up to go somewhere, while you're walking, etc. A light touch of
your back pocket or a quick look in your purse will give you a clear indication.
- Do not keep your wallet in your back pocket when you travel, or are in crowded
places. This extra level of security for you nearly eliminates the chance of someone slipping it out of your clothing. Put
your wallet in your front pocket or a backpack, or use a money belt.
- If you regularly keep your wallet in your back pocket, try to wear pants
that have a button on the back pocket, and use it.
- If you notice charges to your account that were made between the time you
lost your wallet and the time that you suspended your credit/debit cards, call your institution and inform them, then file
another police report (unless the institution says they will do that for you). This insures that you are not liable for those
charges, and gives you a better chance of finding your wallet after the investigation is over.
- If you keep your wallet in your back pocket, make sure the pocket is not
stretched out. Your wallet will most likely stay in your pocket if the wallet is not too thick and your pocket is tight.
- Never store pin numbers, passwords or your social security number in your