Adulting Tips: What to Do When Your Wallet is Stolen
Considering I just had my wallet stolen, I figured it would be a good idea to give out some tips on what to do if it happens to you, what to do BEFORE your wallet is stolen, and things you should NEVER EVER keep in your wallet.
Things to NEVER EVER Keep in your Wallet
- Social Security Card
- Car Registration
- Birth Certificate
- Extra House Key
- Extra Car Key
- Password Sheet
Your social security card and birth certificate should be no brainers. These things are huge for stealing your identity. If you lose these, it’s like your information is floating around in the world and you have no control over who uses it. Registration should usually be kept in your car anyway. As for the extra keys, if you keep your car key in your wallet, they then have access to your car, and if you have an extra house key, then then have full access to your house, given your address is correct on your license. Password sheets are just a bad idea. Say you have your bank passwords on there. Not only do they have access to your cards, but they have the ability to lock you out of your own account.
Steps After Your Wallet is Stolen
File a Police Report
If your wallet has been blatantly stolen, or even lost but you have fraudulent charges on your cards, head down to the police station IN THE TOWN IT HAPPENED. That’s the big thing here. You have to go to the police station in the town or city where this happened. In my instance I was hoping I had left my wallet at home. But by the time I got home, my bank was already informing me of strange charges on my credit card. Unfortunately I had to drive the half hour back to the town I work in to file to report because that’s where everything took place. It’s a pain, and I’m not sure how common knowledge that is.
Cancel ALL of your Cards
Calling up your bank and the company for every credit card you have can be a pain, but it’s the best way to make sure you’re not liable for any charges made. It also makes sure whoever took your stuff doesn’t have continued access to a free shopping spree. More often than not, the actual conversation to cancel the card and dispute the charges is shorter than waiting to talk to an actual person. Yeah, you’ll be stuck without money until you get your new cards if you don’t have cash on hand, or any other way of accessing your accounts, but that’s well worth it.
Call up Any Insurances
If you keep your health insurance or dental insurance, or any other form of insurance in your wallet, call them up and have them send you a new one. Those conversations are usually pretty easy. For me, they were actually the quickest conversations to have. This lets them know your stuff has been stolen, so it can be easier to report any potential false charges to your insurance. Most places have the ability to log on to their website to get some kind of temporary card to use if need be.
Head to DMV or AAA for a New License
Getting a new license is a big priority. You don’t realize how many things require an ID until you don’t have one. You need to make sure you have all the required documents for a new license. Head over to your local DMV or to your local AAA.
Freeze Your Credit
If you’re one of those people who happens to keep their social security card in your wallet, you’re going to have an extra step. All of the information you need to open a line of credit or commit identity fraud is in your wallet.
You’re going to have to call up or go online to freeze your credit at the three main credit unions: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.
Steps BEFORE Your Wallet is Stolen
Write Down All Customer Service Numbers
One of the issues I came across is that my dental insurance only has their customer service number written on the back of their card. I didn’t have the number because I didn’t have my card, so I couldn’t get a new one. Thankfully, the HR Manager at my workplace put in the request for a new one for me. But you may not be as lucky.
Related: 4 Post-College Finance Tips to Get You Started in the Real World
Have any other tips for keeping your wallet safe? How about more tips on what to do when it’s stolen? Have a story you want to share?
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