I previously wrote about common scams and computer hacking. However, losing a wallet, or having it stolen, is a common occurrence. You forget it at a restaurant or in public transit, or you lost it while traveling. Or it’s stolen.
The things that you do immediately after losing your wallet or having it stolen are very important.
If you do the right things right away, you can almost always diminish any problems that will arise from your information falling into the wrong hands.
The longer a crook has with your personal information, not to mention your credit cards, the more damage they can do. So, the sooner you catch the situation and notify the right people the sooner you can stop the financial bleeding.
In this article we will go over some things that you should do as soon as you realize that your information has been compromised.
Cancel Your Credit and Debit Cards
This will be a slight inconvenience for a while, true, but there is nothing else that you can do.
One thing that crooks like to do is to add themselves to your account. They will pretend that they are an owner on your account so they can take all the money out of that account.
You can contact your credit card companies 24/7. It’s easier if you have your credit card numbers saved in a safe place, but if you don’t have them, don’t worry. Your credit card company will figure it out.
If there are any fraudulent transactions on your credit cards, don’t worry either. As a cardholder, you carry zero responsibility for fraudulent transactions.
For your debit card, you need to contact your bank or credit union. A credit union will probably not be available 24/7. You may need to go to a branch to sign documents and get a new debit card.
Contact the 2 Credit Bureaus (TransUnion and Equifax)
They will need to know that someone has stolen your wallet and could possibly try to steal your identity.
If your wallet is stolen you can usually get a fraud alert placed on your accounts. This will make it a lot more difficult for anyone to use your information to open up some sort of credit, whether a loan or another credit card.
Unfortunately, a fraud alert may not be enough to prevent fraud. You’ll need to monitor your credit report as well. Both Equifax and Transunion let you do so on a monthly basis for free.
File a Police Report
This too will help you establish a time line. That time line can come into play if there is any damage done to your credit or loans or credit cards taken out in your name.
This step will make it easier for you to prove that you really aren’t the one who did the spending.
It can also be a requirement, for example to replace your driver’s license.
If Your Driver’s License is Stolen
If you live in Canada, you’ll need to go to your driver’s licensing office to have a new license issued.
In British Columbia, ICBC won’t change your license number if lost or stolen. You’ll also have to pay $17.00 to have it reissued. You’ll need a police report as well.
If your SIN is Stolen
Hopefully, you don’t carry your Social Insurance Number -SIN- card with you. A SIN isn’t needed on a day to day basis. It’s not a piece of ID either. The federal government has a good summary of when to use your sin, and when not to.
If your SIN is lost or stolen, contact the Canadian anti-fraud centre. You will also need a police report and the name of the officer who took your report, as well as their phone number.
Hopefully this information will help answer the question “stolen wallet what to do” if you ever find yourself in that situation.
It’s also best not to carry everything in your wallet. I know a lot of people who always carry all their credit and debit cards, their SIN card, their membership cards, their Canadian citizenship certificate…etc. You don’t need to carry all of this on a daily basis! Only carry what you need.