If you were to lose your purse or wallet at this exact moment, do you have a clear idea of the contents? No one expects to have their purse or wallet stolen. We also don’t anticipate misplacing or flat-out losing these essential belongings. Maybe that’s why we keep some of our most precious things in our purses and wallets—cash, credit cards, cell phone, car keys, and the list goes on.
The truth is that wallets and purses are stolen every day. Of those lost and stolen, you can bet your bottom dollar only a small fraction ever make it back to their owners, and a smaller number still with all the original contents. A number of those lost or stolen wallets also end up in the hands of identity thieves, or people who turn into them, giving you an even bigger headache. It all comes back to that old saying, you can never be too careful.
For some women, the purse becomes a bottomless pit or a black hole to another dimension. As the fashion trends lean toward bigger purses, the pocketbooks get fuller to make up for the extra capacity. It becomes increasingly difficult to keep track of everything that’s inside. Luckily for men, most wallets do not have the same problems, although we should still caution ourselves on carrying too much personal data with us in our wallets. Avoid bringing important materials like a social security card or any documented passwords, PIN numbers, and bank account numbers to be on the safe side.
What to Do When Your Purse or Wallet Is Lost or Stolen
Remember these important tips if you ever lose your wallet or if it is ever stolen:
- Call your bank to report your ATM card missing. Put an alert on your bank account as well.
- Call your credit card companies, confirm your identity, and put a flag on your account. Cancel your cards and request new cards and new numbers.
- If your checkbook was stolen or your banking info compromised, report it to your bank or credit union right away.
- File a police report. You may get lucky and recover some, if not all, of your belongings. If nothing else, at least you may help to prevent others from suffering the same fate by reporting the theft. Get a copy of the police report for your records.
- Report your missing license to the DMV and get a new one at your earliest convenience.
- Call the major credit reporting agencies. These agencies can distribute this information to others for you.
- If you had any video rental cards or other memberships, you may be liable for charges since they may not all include consumer protection. Call each one to cancel your service.
- If your Social Security card was stolen, call the Social Security office to get a new card to replace yours.
- If your house keys were among the stolen items, be sure to change your locks for your own protection and the safety of your other belongings.
Knowing what you have in your wallet or purse is vital in protecting yourself from identity theft. You will need to list and/or describe the items in your purse or wallet when you go to file a police report. It can help if you have this list before your wallet even goes missing. Do your best to stay on top of what you keep in your purse and wallet, keeping clutter to a minimum whenever possible. Make a list of all your credit cards and their customer service numbers, should you have to call and report your cards missing. Do not keep this card in your wallet, but instead in your car, at the office, or somewhere safe at home. If you are vigilant about keeping your belongings organized, hopefully you won’t have to worry or wonder about “What’s in your wallet.”
Here are some helpful resources:
Major Credit Card Companies:
Credit Reporting Agencies:
- Equifax Fraud Department 800-525-6285
- Experian Fraud Department: 888-397-3742
- TransUnion Fraud Department 800-680-7289