What to Do When Your Wallet Is Lost or Stolen

If you’ve just discovered that your wallet is missing, the first thing you’ll likely do is go into a panic. That’s understandable, especially if you had a lot of valuable things in it. But these things do happen, and there are some things you can do right away to help lessen the chances of fraudulent charges or identify theft.AdobeStock_24067092

If you had any credit cards in your wallet, it’s important to contact the card issuers immediately to report the missing cards. By law, if your credit card is stolen, credit card companies can only hold you accountable for the first $50 of fraudulent charges that were made before the theft was reported. So, the sooner you contact them, the sooner they can protect you. They can also cancel the cards and issue you new ones to limit your account’s exposure to fraudulent activity.

It’s important to point out that the law is different in the case of ATM and debit cards. Your liability for unauthorized charges on your ATM or debit card depends on how quickly you report the loss. If you report an ATM or debit card missing before it’s used without your permission, federal law says the card issuer cannot hold you responsible for any unauthorized transfers. If your BankFive debit card is lost or stolen, call us immediately at 774-888-6100 during normal business hours, or call our 24/7 support center at 1-800-472-3272 during non-business hours.

You’ll also need to head down to your local DMV in order to report and replace your missing or stolen driver’s license.

Report the loss or theft to your local police. Even if you only had a small amount of cash in your wallet, and immediately shut down all of your credit and debit cards, it’s still important to report it. Don’t expect the authorities to send out a crime unit to locate your wallet, but reporting the incident can help down the road if you become the victim of identity theft or fraud.

If you happened to have your social security card in your wallet, you need to report that immediately. You should call the IRS Identity Protection Unit at 1-800-908-4490, file a report with the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-ID-THEFT, and make a report at IdentityTheft.govAs a courtesy, you will be leaving Blog.BankFive.com and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of BankFive.com. Come back soon!.

If you had your social security card in your wallet, it’s also a good idea to notify the three major national credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – and ask to have a fraud alert placed on your credit report. A fraud alert requires creditors to verify your identity before approving any new credit. You can contact the fraud departments of the three major credit bureaus at:

  • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
  • TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
  • Experian: 1-888-397-3742

Monitor your credit report regularly following the loss. Every year you’re entitled to a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus, and you can stagger those free reports so you have access to one every four months. You can access your free reports at AnnualCreditReport.comAs a courtesy, you will be leaving Blog.BankFive.com and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of BankFive.com. Come back soon!. Check your credit report for any irregularities, including accounts you didn’t open, addresses or aliases you don’t recognize, or hard inquiries you didn’t initiate or permit.

If you’re particularly worried about becoming a victim of identity theft following the loss of your wallet, you may get some peace of mind by enrolling in a credit monitoring and identity theft protection service like LifeLock. Each of the three major credit bureaus also offer similar services.

To help limit the amount of cleanup you have to do after losing a wallet, it’s important to remember to NEVER carry your Social Security card or anything that has your Social Security number on it in your wallet. It’s also important to never carry any Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) in your wallet, particularly if those PINs are associated with the debit cards you’re carrying.

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