Losing your wallet is a very scary experience mainly because you lose a lot of personal documents along with it. When that happens, it can be hard to wrap your head around all the things that need to be done so that no one is able to use any of your personal information for their benefit. You will need to make a lot of calls and requests, so it’s good if you have an overall idea of what to do in such a situation, and a neat, organized, completely bulletproof checklist.
After reading this article, you will know exactly what steps to take, after you have lost your wallet.
After losing your wallet you should:
- cancel your debit and credit cards
- renew your ID and driver’s license
- call the bank
- call the police
- set up a fraud alert
What you should do right after you have lost your wallet?
Right after you have lost your wallet you should try to remember some details on when that might have happened, so that you can retrace your steps and try and find it.
If you have no way of finding it, then it’s best to make a list of all the things that were inside it so that you can start the long procedure of replacing everything.
Is there anything that can help you find your wallet if it has been lost?
If your wallet has been lost and not stolen, then you might have a chance of getting it back, if there is anything in it that contains your personal information. Keep in mind though, that this is a double-edged sword and someone might decide to use your personal information for their own gain.
There are other methods that can help get your wallet back. For example, if you report your wallet missing to the police, they might be able to help you find it, or at least contact you if they come across the wallet.
Should you report a lost wallet?
As I mentioned above, it would be a very wise decision to report a lost wallet as this will increase the chances of you getting it back. Not only that, but the police will be able to help you keep your identity safe.
How to retrace your steps when you lose your wallet?
You might need to have to sit down for this one because we all know that losing your wallet will cause you some stress. If you are under stress it’s much harder to retrace your steps, so the first thing you should do is to try to calm down. Sit down somewhere and gather your thoughts so that you can remember as many details as you can about your whereabouts before you lost your wallet.
After forming a clear vision you can try and retrace your steps and see if your wallet is somewhere along the way.
Why you should check credit reports when losing your wallet?
Checking your credit report is a vital step after you have lost your wallet. It’s important to do this so that you can make sure that no suspicious activity is happening, because if someone has your personal information at hand, they might try to open an account in your name.
Are some wallets harder to lose than others?
The answer to this question might surprise you a bit. Yes, some wallets are harder to lose than others. For example, it is much harder to lose a wallet that has an attachment point that can be used to attach your wallet to your pants or bag. It’s also much harder for the wallet to fall out somewhere if it’s secured to you this way.
Some wallets even feature trackers that can be connected to your phone, making this type of wallet easier to find and harder to lose.
Magnetic wallets are also pretty hard to lose since they are a magnet that is attached to your phone. The only way to lose them is by losing your phone as well, or if you remove the wallet yourself and misplace it somewhere.
Naturally, bigger wallets are also harder to lose, as well as wallets that have make a sound when moved or when they touch another surface, such as wallets with metal in their build or with harder and noisier attachments on them.
My guide on how to choose a wallet has these sorts of tips and few other extra things you should know when choosing your wallet.
Is it easier to lose your wallet if you keep it in the pockets of your pants?
I would suggest keeping your wallet in a bag and not in your pants pockets. Whether it’s the back pocket or the front pocket, it’s much easier for the wallet to fall out from them, than if it was securely placed in a bag. As you move, you put pressure on the lower part of the pockets which pushes your wallet upwards, especially if it’s a bit bulkier, making it very easy for it to slip out.
All the things you need to do after you have lost your wallet
Losing your wallet is a big headache, especially if it’s your first time since you have all these personal documents to change and all these institutions to call. So here is a short guide to making these steps a little bit easier.
Cancel your debit and credit cards
The first thing to do is to call your credit and debit card companies so that you can cancel your previous cards and get new ones. You will need to explain that your cards have been lost or stolen in order to get them canceled. Out of the two cards, you should start with your debit card because your liability will depend on how fast you report the incident.
Call the police to file a report
Calling the police is a crucial step to protecting yourself from identity theft. Even if you are uncertain that the police can help you find where your wallet might be, you can at least report it so that you prevent fraud. A police report from your local police department might also be helpful when you replace all your other personal documents.
Set up a fraud alert
Anyone who might think that fraud might occur can decide to place a fraud alert on their credit report. A fraud alert will last for one year, after which you will need to renew it, and it’s free of charge to place it. You can even choose to freeze your credit report so that no one is able to open a new credit account while the freeze is in place.
Change personal items that were in the wallet
Some of us carry more than just our cards and cash bills in our wallets. Make sure to make a list of everything else that was in your wallet when you lost it. For example, one important thing that might find itself on this list is a key to your home. In case your key was stolen, along with your ID card that has your address on it, it might be smart to change your door lock as well.
Start changing passwords
Some people carry their phones or a list of passwords inside their wallets. Whatever the case may be, you should immediately change all the passwords that might be accessible to someone that might find your wallet.
Call the bank if you have a checkbook
You should also make an effort to call the bank if you had a checkbook in your wallet so that there is no way that someone might be able to use your personal information to write checks in your name.
Identity theft protection
Keep in mind that credit and debit cards are not the only items that can be used for identity theft. You should also cancel your Social Security card to protect your identity. If you want to take an extra step in protecting your identity, you can even sign up for an identity theft protection program.
Get a new driver’s license and ID card
Of course, one of the main things you will need to immediately replace is your ID and your driver’s license. It won’t be fun if you are caught driving without your driver’s license since you will have to pay a fine. You should visit your local DMV to do this, and make sure to have the required proof of identity so that you can get the new driver’s license with ease.
Keep an eye on credit reports
By checking your credit reports regularly you can make sure that no one is opening new lines of credit with your identity. Take out your reports and go over them carefully. If you notice credit card accounts and loans that you don’t remember, you should alert the credit bureau immediately.
Things that you should put in your wallet which might help you get it back
Surprisingly, there are some things that you can keep in your wallet that make it more likely for it to be returned by someone.
Having a picture of yourself, or any other pictures will make the person that finds your wallet get a mental image of the person that has lost it. It’s much harder not to return a wallet to someone after you have already had a glimpse of their face.
Not only that but there is a fun fact about baby pictures and lost wallets. Basically, carrying a baby picture makes it much more likely for your wallet to be returned to you. University of Hertfordshire psychologists in Edinburgh decided to do an experiment where they planted a bunch of wallets with different pictures in them. Out of all of them, 42% were returned of which:
- 48% had family portrait photos
- 54% had photos of a dog
- 88% had photos of a baby
It might also be a good idea to leave your contact information in one of your wallet pockets and hope that someone with a good heart finds it and calls you.
Things that you should avoid keeping in your wallet
There are also some things that you should always try to avoid carrying in your wallet so that even if it gets lost, you can avoid a much more troublesome situation.
Don’t keep your key in your wallet
You can just imagine the power that someone will have when they have your home key and your ID cards. They can easily find information about the whereabouts of your home and use your key. Still, there is no need to panic, you should just go and replace your lock and your key if you happen to lose both your key and your ID card.
Never keep a list of passwords in your wallet
Now I’m not just talking about passwords from your social media accounts. I’m talking about credit account passwords, debit card codes, and other similar passwords that can be used by someone to cause you harm. So you might already be getting an idea of why you should never keep them in your wallet. I know it’s an easy way to remember them, but it might be better to just keep them written on your phone.
Don’t keep your phone in your wallet even if it has the space
There are a lot of wallets that are big enough to carry a phone, but I would suggest that you never place your phone there. There are a million reasons why you shouldn’t do this. The first is that if your wallet gets stolen, so will your phone, and if you lose your phone you will have to change a bunch of passwords and accounts. Another reason is that carrying your phone there can damage the wallet, even if there is enough space for it in there.
Things you can do in the future to make this process easier
Losing your wallet is always by accident, so it might be a good idea to prepare yourself as much as you can so that you can react right away if this happens to you. For some more complete information, see my guide on how to prevent wallet theft.
Keep a copy of personal documents for reference
It’s a good idea to make copies of your personal documents. Keep in mind that after losing everything, you will also need to replace everything. In most cases, you will need to show an identification document like an ID for example. In some countries, you might be able to use your passport, but it’s still a good idea to have a copy of your ID at hand, mainly because if you don’t you might have to go through a harder procedure to get all your stuff back.
Save all the numbers you need for this process on your phone
If you have already gone through this difficult process of retrieving everything that gets lost along with your wallet, then I’m sure you will agree that having all the necessary numbers in your phone will make the next time this happens a little easier. Even if it doesn’t happen to you, you might be able to help someone avoid a massive headache by giving them all the numbers they need to resolve this issue.
Get a wallet with a tracker
Another thing you can do is purchase a smart wallet that has a built-in tracker. This way you will be able to always know where your wallet is.
There is one thing that you should remember – most of the time, this tracker is connected to your phone, so it would be a wise idea not to keep these two together because if both of them get lost, you won’t be able to use your phone to find your wallet.