What to Do When Your Wallet Is Stolen

Friday, October 9, 2015, 6:00 AM | 8 Comments

No one goes through their day expecting their wallet or purse to be stolen, but unfortunately it happens to even the most cautious of us. Will you be prepared should the worst happen to your purse or wallet?

Whether you’re looking to make yourself more prepared, or you’ve just had something of yours stolen, here is a look at what you need to do in the unfortunate event that someone steals your purse or wallet.

  • Ensure that it was truly stolen

    It may sound silly, but you’d be surprised by the number of times people report stolen items to the police, only to realize later that they’d simply misplaced them.

    If you were mugged, or if someone broke into your car, then clearly your wallet was stolen, but otherwise, are you sure that your wallet didn’t just fall out of your pocket while in the car or on the couch?

  • Contact your bank and credit card company

    Now that you know your wallet or purse was truly stolen, it’s time to ensure that your finances will stay safe.

    First, call your bank. Your ATM/debit card might have a PIN attached to it, but chances are it can also be processed like a credit card without the PIN—and that’s money that leaves your checking account immediately.

    Contact your bank as soon as possible—before anyone has the chance to use your card—and report that your card was stolen. Your bank will also be able to help you with any stolen checks.

    Once you’ve squared things away with your bank, you’ll want to call your credit card company as well.

    Instead of cancelling your credit card, report it as stolen—that way your credit card company can suspend your number to keep your money safe.

    Before calling, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared to tell them what the last purchases you made with the card were.

    Once this is done, you’ll want to have new cards with new account numbers sent to you as soon as possible.

    Bonus tip: If as you read this you haven’t yet had your purse or wallet stolen, get prepared now by saving the phone numbers for your bank and credit card company in your phone.

  • Report it to the police

    Once you’ve ensured that your money will remain safe, it’s time to file a report with the police.

    Yes, this will alert the police force to keep an eye out for your stolen items should they arrest the thief who has your items; but more importantly, having a copy of the report will also help to protect your name further down the road should the thief assume your identity and commit crimes in your name.

    Be prepared to tell the police when your wallet was stolen, what you think happened, what was in the wallet, and what the wallet looks like.

  • Sort out your direct deposits and automatic withdrawals

    Don’t forget about the automatic paycheck deposits and payment withdrawals you had tied to your account(s).

    Contact your employer’s HR department and any companies you make automatic payments to in order to ensure that money is going to and coming from the right place.

  • Notify the credit bureaus

    You’ll also need to contact the three major credit reporting agencies—Equifax, TransUnion or Experian—in order to put a fraud alert on your account.

    When you have a fraud alert in place, a creditor will have to verify your identity, usually with a phone number you put on file, before approving any new credit.

    Calling one agencies typically does alert all three, but it’s a good idea to call all three just to be safe.

  • Report your missing driver’s license to the DMV

    Don’t forget about your driver’s license, either. Get in touch with the DMV as soon as possible to report your stolen license.

    It’s best to do this in person to expedite the process, and to initiate the process for getting you a new license.

    This process will vary by state and may have some fees attached.

  • If keys were stolen, change your locks

    If you had a spare house key in your wallet, or if your entire purse was stolen, you’ll want to change your locks as soon as possible.

    Do this even if your stolen key finds its way back to you, as someone could have easily made a copy of the key.

    You can change your locks yourself with a kit from your local hardware store, or you can have a reputable locksmith do this for you.

    Car keys are a little more difficult to change, so you’ll want to contact your local car dealer for assistance if your car keys were also stolen.

    Here is a guide to different types of car keys so that you can know what replacing them will involve.

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  1. 8 Responses to “What to Do When Your Wallet Is Stolen”

  2. By Caleb on Oct 9, 2015, 2:48 pm | Reply

    Make sure to follow all of these steps if your wallet or purse happens to be stolen. It is always helpful to be prepared. I would go ahead and gather all of the information your credit card companies, banks and others have as it pertains to having your cards/information stolen.

  3. By Veronika on Nov 3, 2015, 4:17 pm | Reply

    My wallet and keys just got stolen! Nothing else in my purse was important, but now I’m replacing all of my cards, and getting my locks replaced. It’s taking forever to update all of the auto-payment services that have my old credit card on them.

  4. By Veronica Marks on Dec 3, 2015, 3:14 pm | Reply

    Thanks for the tip to save the numbers to my credit card and bank before I end up with a stolen wallet! I wouldn’t have even thought of that. I hope to never have my wallet stolen, but even worse would be to have to change my locks if my keys are with it! That would be so unfortunate! I know it happens, though, so I’m grateful for this article so that I can be prepared.

  5. By Adam Bockler on Dec 21, 2015, 6:34 pm | Reply

    You make a great point about how if you kept a spare key in your wallet and it was stolen, you will definitely want to change your locks. I like your tip about how you can get a kit from a hardware store, but it can be easier to contact a good locksmith to change your locks, as you mentioned. I’ll keep these tips in mind, but I’ll try to prevent my wallet from being stolen in the first place.

  6. By jamesrod214 on Jan 14, 2016, 6:13 pm | Reply

    I like the idea to change your locks. Personally, I’ve never done this, but I am planning on doing it within the next year. I don’t know many locksmiths that are in my area, though. I’ll have to look around, thanks for the help!

  7. By Angela Waterford on Jan 27, 2016, 1:23 pm | Reply

    I never thought about changing the locks because of a stolen wallet, but I don’t actually keep my keys in my wallet. I can’t imagine how scary it would be to know someone had keys to my house if they were ever stolen. How quickly are locksmiths typically able to get all the locks changed out in a home?

  8. By Hazel Owens on Mar 21, 2016, 10:04 am | Reply

    I like your tip to replace your locks if your keys were stolen, even if you get your keys back. Losing your wallet is bad enough without worrying about a potential robbery. Like you said, it’s easy for someone to make a copy of your key, so even if you have everything returned, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your locks. Thanks for the tips.

  9. By Raul Sobota on Jun 1, 2016, 7:15 pm | Reply

    I found it interesting article about changing the locks in case you lose your key. It is always good to be careful because someone can use the key to enter the house and steal its objects.

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