Reporting a Lost or Stolen Wallet or Purse
A lost or stolen wallet or purse provides an identity thief with all the information necessary to commit various crimes, including opening up false accounts and racking up charges, using fraudulent IDs, and renting apartments among other things. Identity thieves may also sell personal information, such as account and Social Security numbers, and driver's licenses to other thieves. Therefore, it is important to act quickly if a purse or wallet has been stolen in order to reduce financial damages.
Steps to Take if a Wallet or Purse has been Stolen
There are several things an individual can do if their purse or wallet has been stolen. Below contains steps of what to do if an individual finds themselves in this position:
1) Call all debt and credit card issuers
Individuals may either cancel all their cards, or request account number changes by calling their credit companies. However, they should be aware that canceling credit cards that have an outstanding balance will negatively affect their credit scores as well as increase their interest rates. Instead, individuals should contact each debit and credit company individually, and inform them of the credit card theft. Ask about changing account numbers, and request that the same credit limits apply to the new accounts.
2) File a report with local authorities
A police report should be filed as soon as a wallet or purse theft is suspected. Individuals should gather all information pertaining to the theft, including when and where they first noticed that their wallet or purse was stolen, what items the stolen purse or wallet contained, a detailed description of the purse or wallet, and any suspects.
3) Issue a fraud alert
TransUnion, Equifax and Experian should all be contacted individually, and a 30 day fraud alert should be placed on all credit scores. Any fraud alerts issued will require creditors to verify an individual's identity via telephone before approving any credit, purchases or loans.
4) File a report with any banks or credit unions
A report should be filed with the individual's bank or credit union by contacting their fraud departments.
5) Order and review all credit scores
Individuals should order a copy of their credit scores from each of the three main credit bureaus, and they should analyze them for any suspicious activities. This includes address changes, any inquiries, unauthorized charges and opened accounts.
6) Report missing driver's licenses and Social Security cards
Lost or stolen driver's licenses can be reported by contacting the nearest Department of Motor Vehicles and requesting to cancel the driver's licenses. Lost or stolen Social Security numbers can be reported by contacting the Social Security Administration, the Federal Trade Commission and the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
7) Change any locks if keys are missing
If any home or office keys are missing, the locks should be changed immediately.
8) Make an inventory of all articles stolen.
A list should be made of every item that was in the lost or stolen wallet or purse. This includes all credit cards, movie rental cards, cash, cosmetics, health insurance cards, and other cards.
9) Cancel any checking accounts.
All checking accounts should be closed, especially if checks were stolen. New accounts should then be opened, and all check verification services should be contacted and informed of the theft to prevent identity thieves from using any checks fraudulently.
The above steps are necessary to secure anyone's identity after a purse or wallet has been stolen, even though it is time consuming and a hassle. However, several identity theft protection services will do all of the above work automatically, so individuals do not have to invest unnecessary time and worry.
Identity Theft Protection Services
Several identity theft protection services offer automatic monitoring of credit scores and statements, issuing of fraud alerts and credit freezes, assisting in lost or stolen purses and scanning black markets for fraudulent use of personal information. Identity theft companies include:
LifeLock offers WalletLock, which means if a customer's wallet or purse is stolen, they will replace all necessary identification immediately.
TrustedID offers customers the option of storing their credit and debit cards and other important documents on file. If a customer's wallet is stolen, they will still have access to essential information.
IdentityGuard also offers customers the option of storing all essential information with them, and if a customer's wallet or purse is stolen, IdentityGuard will give them up to $2,000 emergency cash directly from their accounts.