Stolen Purse, Lost Wallet?

What to do when some of your most vital information goes missing

If you have ever lost your wallet or purse, the feelings of panic, worry and helplessness are all too familiar. Since so much sensitive information is contained within a wallet or purse, it is easy to feel as if your world has come to an end when it goes missing.

It doesn’t have to be that way; with a little preparation and fast action, you won’t feel so distressed if such an unexpected event occurs.

If your wallet or purse has gone missing, take the following actions immediately. The faster you act, the more hassle you are likely to avoid.
• In the case of theft, file a police report and request a copy for yourself in case your credit card company or bank needs proof of the crime.
• Cancel all of your credit cards and notify your bank.
• Call any of the three major credit bureaus and request that a “fraud alert” be placed on your account.
• Request a credit report from the credit bureau to check if any new accounts have been opened under your name.
• Get a new ATM card and personal identification number from your bank.
• Call the Department of Motor Vehicles to report your missing driver’s license.

Even if your wallet has not gone missing, you should still take several precautions to ensure the safety of its contents. Create a personal guide to your wallet with the following information and keep it in a safe place.
• Make a front and back photocopy of everything in your wallet, especially your driver’s license, credit cards, debit cards and health insurance card.
• Create a list of important phone numbers to call if your wallet is stolen or lost. This list should include numbers for your credit card companies, bank, police department, Social Security administration office, credit reporting bureau, Department of Motor Vehicles and the U.S. Department of Regional Passport Agency.

And remember, never carry your Social Security card, birth certificate, passport or PIN numbers with you. Identity theft is all too easy for a thief if they come upon such personal information.