A stolen purse or lost wallet gives an identity thief all the information and documentation they need to take advantage of your good name and credit. Criminals can sell your identification very easily, view the Dateline MSNBC video on our home page to see how quickly and easily it is done. As frustrating and scary as it is, there are many things you can do right now so that you aren’t victimized further. Here is what to do if your wallet is stolen.
Request account number changes. Be sure to understand your options here. One option is to call and completely cancel all your cards. This is almost never the right choice. Canceling credit cards that have an outstanding balance, or canceling a whole set of credit cards can have a negative impact on your credit score. Also, if you simply cancel cards, this may incite Banks to maximize the interest rate on any outstanding balance. It is best to contact customer service for each debit or credit card by phone and clearly explain that your card has been lost or stolen. Most Banks have plans in place to address this situation.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, no federal law limits your losses should someone obtain your checks and forge your signature. State laws usually hold the bank responsible in this case, but the Catch-22 comes when they also require you to “take reasonable care” of your account. Stay in the law’s good graces by closing your current checking account and reopening a new one, especially if you lost checks. The bank will notify its internal processors about the now defunct account, but the FTC recommends you call these check verification services to stop someone from using one of your checks at a merchant’s cash register:
This is a stressful situation and can leave one feeling violated and angry but knowing what to do when your purse is stolen is half the battle. If you act quickly using the guidelines above you can keep it from taking your stress to a whole new level and from becoming a major financial disaster or identity theft situation.
If you have not lost your wallet or had your purse stolen, great! By reading the information above you can easily see why identity theft protection is the key here! Taking a few simple precautions now can save you time and money if your personal information is ever compromised.
Here’s a few tips that may save you a lot of time, money and stress: