You are out enjoying your day, then go to reach for your wallet to make a purchase and realize it’s just been stolen. After you make absolutely sure it has not been misplaced, what do you do?
Losing the money is not as hard and frustrating as losing your debit, credit, or social security cards not to mention your driver’s license, checkbook, membership cards and/or workplace id’s. Here’s what you do:
File a police report: First retrace your steps and recall as many details as you can about the event in your mind. Next, call the non-emergency number of the police department in the vicinity of your stolen wallet and ask for guidance. Unless you have been physically hurt as well it is best not to call 911, better still visit the local area police department and tell them you would like to file a police report. When finished remember to ask for a copy, this will be very important when trying to replace all your other items. Having a report number will also allow you to drive without your license for a time. If you are out of the country, contact the U.S. Embassy.
Replacing credit cards: Don’t wait take care of this as soon as possible. Make sure whoever lifted your wallet has not decided to go on a shopping spree at your expense. Calling the card companies will shut down your current cards, keep you from being liable for new purchases made and allow the credit card company to issue you a new card. The following are the phone numbers to the top 3 credit card issuers should you need to report a stolen card: American Express (800) 992-3404, MasterCard (800) 622-7747 or (800) 627-8372, Visa (800) 847-2911.
Replacing debit cards and checkbooks: Call your bank immediately, ask for lost and prevention. Emergency numbers should be located on your monthly statements as well as online at the bank’s website. It is advisable to take your police report and a picture ID or birth certificate, if you need to go to the bank to close, stop payments or open another account.
Replacing your driver’s license: In most states all you need to do is take two forms of ID (preferably your social security card and a birth certificate) to your local DMV office to apply for a duplicate license. In some cases you will need your police report, to pass an eye test, take a new photo and pay a fee. For state-by-state requirements just go to www.dmv.org then click on your state you may even be able to apply for a duplicate online.
Replacing your social security card: Contact the nearest social security office to apply for a replacement card free of charge. However, it will be your responsibility to monitor your credit reports to make sure you don’t fall victim to identity theft. Check your social security records by calling 1-800-772-1213 or visit www.ssa.gov/ssnumber for more information. The best preventative measure is not to carry your social security card in your wallet unless you are applying for a job.
Replacing membership cards: If you lost a Sam’s Club or Costco card or maybe a gym membership or Blockbuster card, etc. in most cases taking your police report and explaining your situation will get you a new card free of charge or for a nominal fee, provided your membership had not already expired.
No one can predict or be responsible for the actions of another. Prevention and personal preparedness can go a long way to making a tedious, heart-breaking experience go as smoothly as possible. At www.ou.edu/oupd/lostwallet.pdf you will find a great Lost/Stolen Wallet Inventory and Emergency Checklist that you can print, fill out and keep in your home files.
Now shake off the negativity and get back to the joy of living your life as soon as you can.
Copyright (c) 2007 Priscilla Parham