7 Steps to Take Immediately After Losing Your Wallet

lost wallet

The worst has happened: You’ve looked everywhere, but your wallet is nowhere to be found. Gone with it are your credit cards, debit card, and driver’s license.

Best case scenario? Some nice person will track you down on Facebook to return it. Worst case scenario? A criminal is about to withdraw your money and steal your identity.

Don’t wait before you spring into action. If you’ve got a lost wallet, take these crucial steps right away to protect yourself from identity theft.

1. Call your bank

If your debit card was in your lost wallet, call your bank right away. Let them know about your lost debit card so they can cancel it and issue you a new one. It’s also crucial to review your account transactions for any fraudulent charges.

As long as you tell your bank within two days of losing your wallet, you can’t be held responsible for unauthorized charges over $50. But if you wait, you could have to cover up to $500. Delay for more than 60 days, and you could have to cover every unauthorized charge while the thief drains your bank account.

The bottom line is: Notify your bank ASAP if your wallet goes missing.

2. Phone your credit card issuers

After you hang up with the bank, call your credit card companies immediately. Let them know to freeze your current cards and issue you new ones. Be sure you don’t cancel your cards, as that will hurt your credit score. You just need to get replacements with new card numbers.

As with your bank account, keep a vigilant eye on your credit card transactions. If anything seems off, let your credit card company know right away.

Even if the transactions still go through, federal law protects you from unauthorized charges on a stolen credit card. In other words, you won’t be held responsible for fraudulent charges.

If you have any automatic withdrawals on your account, you’ll have to deal with those, too. Maybe your gym charges a membership fee every month, or your internet bill is coming up. If you have any scheduled withdrawals, let the company know before your transaction is declined.

3. File a police report

To protect yourself against identity theft, notify the police that your wallet is gone. The police probably won’t track it down for you, but they will have a record in case you suffer identity theft.

This record can be useful if you have to prove that you’re a victim of fraud. It’s especially important to take this step if your wallet contained your social security number.

4. Touch base with the major credit bureaus

Once you’ve protected your accounts, call the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian) to place a fraud alert on your accounts. A fraud alert notifies lenders and creditors to be cautious about opening a new account under your name. They may take extra steps to verify your identity before letting you borrow money.

You can request one free credit report a year — over the next few weeks, look it over for any strange requests such as a credit account you never opened. Besides these official credit reports, you can monitor activity on a site like Credit Karma.

You may also want to request a freeze on opening any new accounts. However, this will also prevent you from opening a new account, so you’ll have to remove the freeze before you can open any new credit cards or take out loans.

5. Contact the DMV

The phone calls aren’t over yet. If you had a driver’s license in your wallet, call the DMV and let them know it’s missing. You may have to pay a fee to replace your license.

This step is another important one to protect yourself against identity theft. Someone could be impersonating you as they commit criminal acts. The DMV can flag your ID number in case someone gets pulled over and uses your license as their own.

6. Get in touch with your health insurance company

If you had your health insurance card in your wallet, call your insurance company. Ask them to issue a new one and let them know you don’t have it in case someone else is using it. If a thief has your insurance card and ID, they could use it to receive medical benefits.

Before your new card arrives, ask your health insurance what you can do to cover any expenses. Perhaps they can tell you the new number to cover prescriptions or doctor’s appointments. Otherwise, you may need to keep receipts of any expenses and submit them later for reimbursement.

7. Continue monitoring your accounts

Once you’ve notified all the major players, you can relax a little. The companies should freeze or replace your debit card, credit cards, driver’s license, and medical cards, and the credit bureaus will be on the lookout for fraud.

It’s still a good idea to monitor your accounts for any suspicious transactions. The sooner you report them, the better your chances of getting them dismissed.

Protect yourself in the future

Losing your wallet is a huge hassle, but by canceling your cards right away, you should be able to protect your money. If you’re worried about identity theft, companies like LifeLock could help protect you in the future.

Don’t carry sensitive information that you don’t need daily (such as your social security card) in your wallet going forward. If you act fast, you can minimize the damage of a stolen or lost wallet.

What else can you do to protect your money? Check out these eight security tricks to use against credit card fraud.

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1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Finance Lender Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)
  2. Personal Loans: Fixed rates from 5.49% APR to 14.24% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.29% APR to 11.44% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of December 1, 2017 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 5.29% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.34% plus 4.20% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of August 1, 2017, the one-month LIBOR rate is 1.23%. Variable interest rates range from 6.02% – 15.97% (6.02% – 15.97% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of your loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms and presence of a co-applicant. Fixed interest rates range from 5.99% – 16.24% (5.99% – 16.24% APR) based on applicable terms and presence of a co-applicant. Lowest rates shown are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with Citizens Bank at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, Citizens Bank checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Benefit: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
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