Lost Your Wallet or Purse? Things to Do Immediately and How to Prevent Losing Your Wallet or Purse

We always lose our belongings, it just happens and there’s nothing we can really do about. But when it comes to losing our wallet it is completely different story and we tend to panic right away. To me wallet is like half of my life is in there. Every credit card, debit cards, insurance cards, ID, social security, money to name a few, it is all in there. And we automatically know that if your wallet falls into wrong hands then things will get much more complicated and you could be a victim of identify theft and fraud.

In this post I wanted to talk about what to do firstly if you lose your wallet or purse and how to prevent losing your wallet or purse. I am hoping you are reading this article because you want to be prepared if this happens to you BUT if you stumbled upon my post because you just lost your wallet/purse then I will dive right in because you don’t have time to just read about ways to prevent losing your wallet.

Things I go over in this post so if you want to can just skip to the part you want to know about:

  • What should You do Immediately After Losing Wallet or Purse?
  • How can I Lower or Prevent the Possibility of Losing my Wallet?
  • Major Consequence if your wallet or Purse get in Wrong Hands

What Should You do Immediately After Losing Wallet or Purse?

Firstly, don’t panic right away, is it actually lost, stolen, or just misplaced? Many times I thought I lost my wallet and panicked only to find that it had fallen out of my pocket in my car or just left it home. If not, call places that you’ve been to recently and ask if any wallets have been found.You will be surprised to learn that people are actually more honest than what everybody is thought of. So, before you continue, make sure you double checked in your car, home drawers, office, etc… If not and it is really missing, proceed with steps below.

I’m sure you know what you had in your wallet, so start by making a quick list and getting idea of the contents in your wallet or purse.

This List is ordered by most importance:

Here are the steps you need to take right away if you lost your wallet:

1. Social Security Card: You need to contact one of the three major credit bureaus which are Equifax, Trans Union, or Experian – and ask them to place a fraud alert on your account. By law and calling one one, that agency have to call the other two and notify of this. Doing this will alert any lender to take extra steps with verification process. Also, you need to freeze your credit, so no credit is issued in your name.

Here are phone numbers for the IRS and credit bureaus:

IRS Identity Protection Unit: 1-800-908-4490

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285

Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289

Experian: 1-888-397-3742

2. Debit Cards: Call the bank you are using and explain your situation prevent fraudulent spending as soon as possible. Reporting within two days of theft or lost wallet, you are only will be liable for $50 in false charges, but if you wait and report 60 days then you will be liable up to $500. Closing account and opening a new one with new numbers will help you even more.

Credit Cards: Contact the card issuer and report that your card has been lost or stolen. Then check your statements for any charges you do not recognize.

Here are phone numbers of major banks for your quick reference:

  • Bank of America: 1-800-432-1000
  • Chase: 1-800-935-9935
  • Citibank: 1-800-950-5114
  • Wells Fargo: 1-800-869-3557
  • Discover: 1-800-347-2683
  • US Bank: 1-800-285-8585
  • American Express: 1-800-528-4800
  • Capital One: 1-800-227-4825

3. Driver’s License: Get ahold of you state agency and let them know that your ID had been lost or stolen. If somebody used your ID, you can also ask to have your ID number changed. Any other ID you had in your wallet, you should also contact and let them know that your card is missing.

4. Insurance Cards: Call your health insurance and notify them to prevent any charges that could be acquired by using your medical card. Also any vehicle insurances and this usually can be done online to reprint any of your insurances.

5. Change the Locks: If you kept keys in your wallet then consider changing the locks and getting new keys. If your wallet has gotten in wrong hands, then most likely the person that has it already have your ID and knows your address.

6. Notify the Authorities: Notify your local authorities about the loss or theft of your wallet.  The reason you need to do this is because it will actually help you if you become an identity theft or fraud victim and will have an evidence.You do not want to be trying to explain why you did not file a police report before.

How can I Lower or Prevent the Possibility of Losing my Wallet or Purse?

I am hoping that you are reading this article because you want to be informed about what steps to take and be aware of the worst case scenarios in advance. Because if this unfortunate luck happens to you then you will be in a much better position to handle a loss like this and resolve it much quicker.

Here are the things you should do to lower the chances of losing your wallet or a purse and make the process simpler:

1. Empty your wallet from things you don’t need: Look in your wallet or take everything out and see for yourself what are you actually using vs what is just sitting in your wallet. I honestly do not understand carrying a social security card with you but people do carry and there must be a reason. Same applies for phone numbers, addresses, passwords and any other means of personal info that can betaken advantage of by a thief.

2. Make a picture of what is in your wallet: This is rather simple but take pictures of the content in your wallet. Keep the photocopies at your home or office an update it every 4-6 months or so. If anything were to happen you will know what was in your wallet. *Tip – You should always take picture of your wallet contents when you are traveling anywhere.

3. Carry smaller wallet: To lower the overall disappointment when you lose your wallet, don’t carry too much cash in it. Carry just a few cards that you actually use and some cash and have an overall smaller wallet. Below is the one I highly suggest because it is relatively small and will fit everything that use you on every-day basis, there’s also over 27 designs available for you t choose from!

Travelambo Front Pocket Minimalist Leather Slim Wallet ($15.99)

If you just have a tendency to lose your belongings then consider trackers like  Tile Finder ($15.00) – just stick it or attach to your items like wallet, purse, keys, phone, etc.. and you can find them via your phone, you can also look up the last locations wherever you left them.

Major Consequence if your wallet or Purse get in Wrong Hands

Losing your wallet or purse is devastating enough but if you keep things like your identification or SSN (Social Security Number) it can really hurt you if it gets in wrong hands. Main thing you should be afraid of is the identity fraud or stolen identity. Unfortunately there are people who still commit these identity crimes  to other people which can really affect your financial life for a long time. You could also have a crime on your record that you’ve never done!

What is Identity Theft?

Mainly it occurs when somebody uses someone else’s information usually Social Security Number to represent himself or herself as that person for fraudulent purposes. Some examples include obtaining loans and credit cards in someone else’s name and then not paying the bills, renting apartment, buying a car and list goes on. You will spend a lot of time fighting this off from your record and while doing so you will run in different problem like not getting job because of your credit report.

Lesson here: Keep your Social Security card where nobody can see it and I hope you have remembered your SSN number

Bottom Line

I really hope that you never get to face the consequence of any fraud especially the identity fraud. Again, I hope you are reading this article to be prepared if you lose your wallet or purse or just to know what to do if it were to happen. But I also hope you find this article informing if you lost your wallet or purse by using the steps I listed above. Please share if you liked this post to maybe even help others.

Some articles you might find interesting:

Review of Credit Karma and it’s large variety of FREE benefits having an Account

15 Cheap and Best Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for the Student Budget or Just on Budget

Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs that Don’t Require Degree

Richard Barnett is a student majoring in finance, entrepreneur, marketer, content writer, traveler, and financial blog “Student Money Adviser” owner. You can read more about me here.

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[…] issuer or bank to report the fraudulent charges. You can read my recent post on what to do if you lost your wallet or purse. The steps you take to fix this suspicious charge depend whether the charge was on debit or credit […]