It is like a scene from a bad dream. You reach into your bag and you can’t feel your purse. You push your hand into your pocket to take out your wallet, but it is not there. Tiny beads of sweat form on your forehead, and your neck starts to get a bit warm. Frantically, you empty your bag, hoping that your purse is hidden among your junk, but it’s not there. You check all of your pockets, thinking that you could have pushed your wallet into another pocket, but no such luck.
You have lost your wallet or it has been stolen! Panic sets in as you think about the money, your bank cards, identification card and driver’s licence that were all in that purse. If you’ve ever been in this position, you can attest to the heartache and headache that comes along with a misplaced wallet. These days, there’s more to worry about than just a few dollars. Identify theft and fraud can wreak havoc on you, your financial identity and financial reputation and can be extremely time consuming and costly to combat.
What Should I do if I Lose My Purse or Wallet?
After you are completely sure that you did not simply misplace your purse or wallet or that it did not fall between the seats in the car, or that someone did not play a bad prank on you, you should do the following:
1. Stay calm
Having a level head throughout the ordeal will serve you better than panicking and getting hysterical. You will need to put on your thinking cap and having clear thoughts can help you make logical decisions from this point onward. You will have to recall where you were and the contents of your purse.
2. Retrace Your Steps
Where did you go? What did you do? Who did you see? If possible, call the places that you last visited and make a record of the name, time and number of everyone you contact and speak to. Prepare a list of questions to ask each person and write down all of their answers.
3. Call the Bank
Call all of your financial institutions and report your cards and/or cheque books as stolen. If your wallet was stolen and you report your loss before your cards are used illegally, you will not be liable for charges made on the card. Remember that in financial institutions, your liability changes as the days pass, so you should make the report as soon as possible. The bank has a few options in dealing with your misplaced cards. They can either suspend your cards or cancel them and re-issue you with new ones. They will also notify their fraud departments. If you bank online, change your passwords and pin numbers.
4. Make Lists
Make a list of all the items that were in your purse. If you have multiple bank cards, list each one. Many people carry the following items in their purses and wallets: money, cheques, national identification card, national insurance card, driver’s licence, credit cards, ATM and debit cards, medical care cards, passport, birth certificate, library card, loyalty cards, discount cards, buyer’s club cards, professional identification cards, vehicle insurance certificates and registration documents. You should also make a list of all of your automatic online banking payments – if your cards are suspended or cancelled, your payments will not be completed as scheduled.
5. Notify the Police
Making a report to the police establishes that you have indeed lost something. They will ask you to describe your purse or wallet and everything that was inside the wallet. They might also ask for a description of the wallet, when was the last time you saw your wallet, and maybe even to make a list of the last places that you visited (See Retrace Your Steps). On completion, you should ask for a copy of the policy report for your records.
6. Notify the Authorities
Most people keep government issued documents in their purses and wallets. This includes identification cards, national insurance cards and driver’s licences. These three pieces of identification are priceless to identity thieves, who can use them to assume your identity. Contact the agencies that issued you with these items and advise them of the situation. They may ask you to visit their offices so that you can give them a copy of the police report and to have the cards reissued.
7. Change the Locks
Some people keep a spare copy of their house key in their purse or wallet. If you do this, you have to change the lock. If a thief has your key, he can easily find your home (your address might be printed on one of your government issued cards) and break in. If you keep a spare car key, you should contact your car dealership or locksmith to find out if you can change the keys to your car.
What Can I Do Before I Lose My Wallet
No one likes to know that they have lost a wallet. To protect yourself in the event of a misplaced purse, you should only keep the cards that you need. Never keep your passwords for your accounts in your wallet. Make a note of all bank card numbers and the contact details of the customer service representatives. Another option is to copy or scan all of your cards and save them in a password protected file. Additionally, there are a number of tracking apps that you can utilize to keep your property and information safe:
If you or someone you know has been a victim of theft, please encourage them to contact their financial institutions and their local police force.
I made a big mistake and chose the wrong bank account. This is what I should have done when I was shopping for savings accounts.
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