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What To Do If Your Wallet is Stolen

What To Do If Your Wallet is Stolen
May 13, 2011
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What To Do If Your Wallet is Stolen

You should always:

police badge iconFile a Local Police Report

Include a list of everything that was in your wallet, and make sure you get a copy of the report. This will be useful in resolving any related fraud.

siren iconPlace a Fraud Alert with Credit Bureaus

Experian, Equifax and TransUnion offer consumers the opportunity to place 90-day fraud alerts on their credit files. These signal creditors to verify a person's identity before authorizing a new credit account in his or her name. If you place a fraud alert with one credit bureau, it will automatically be shared with the other two.

phone iconContact numbers

Equifax (800) 525-6285 | Experian (888) 397-3742 | Trans Union: (800) 680-7289

credit report iconGet your free Credit Report

If you're not doing so already, get a free credit report every four months from one of the three credit bureaus. To obtain your credit report, visit

Click to see what to do if your wallet contains...


passportcredit cardssocial security carddriver's licensechecksgreen cardinsurance cardsmembership cards

credit card icon

Credit and/or Debit Cards:

Cancel all cards immediately. The sooner you do this, the better. While Visa and MasterCard offer zero-liability policies (with some stipulations) for unauthorized debit and credit card transactions, federal law allows debit card liability up to $500 if you inform your bank of a theft within two days; wait more than 60 days and you could potentially face unlimited liability. For credit cards, a maximum liability of $50 is possible if you incur charges before reporting the card missing.

Tip: Keep a list of relevant bank and credit card phone numbers to quickly contact them if you need.

Tip: Limit the number of cards you keep in your wallet. Only carry what you need to use.

Related Article: Senator Durbin Blasts Chase CEO on Debit Swipe Fees

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social security card icon

Your Social Security Number:

Consider a Credit Freeze. A credit freeze offers stronger protection against new account fraud than a fraud alert. It prohibits creditors from accessing your credit reports or score, effectively thwarting most (but not all) attempts to open new credit in your name. Keep in mind, a freeze will prevent you from being able to obtain instant credit, and it remains in effect until you choose to "thaw" your credit file. See the Identity Theft Resource Center's map explaining credit freeze policies, as they vary from state-to-state.

Contact numbers

Equifax (800) 525-6285 | Experian (888) 397-3742 | Trans Union: (800) 680-7289

Tip: Don't carry your Social Security card in your wallet.

Tip: Don't carry your Medicare card in your wallet unless you are going to a medical appointment.

Related Article: Playstation Invasion: Child Identity Theft is No Game

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checks icon


Contact your bank immediately. Close your checking

account, any connected accounts, and request a stop payment on all

stolen check numbers. Open a new account with a new number. Once you

contact your bank directly, state your case and requests in writing.

Check fraud can be especially complicated. Refer to this Identity Theft

Resource Center Fact Sheet for additional information.

Related Article: Time for a CARD Act for Checking Accounts?

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driver's license icon

Your Driver's License:

File a Local Police Report. In many states, a police report must be

filed when a license is lost or stolen. Check out the DMV's Guide to

Replacing a Lost License to see your state's requirements. Some states

offer fraud alerts that can be placed on driver's licenses. In cases

where law enforcement pulls over somebody trying to pass as you, the

officers will require additional forms of identification.

Related Article: A Look Back at Identity Theft Trends

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green card icon

Your Green Card:

Contact USCIS. Visit this U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services

(USCIS) web page for assistance on how to replace it. If you've lost

your green card outside of the U.S., first contact the nearest U.S.

consulate, USCIS office, or port of entry.

Related Article: What Do Data Breaches, Globalization and Unprotected Sex Have in Common?

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passport icon


Notify U.S. State Department. Contact the State Department immediately

at 1-877-487-2778. You'll also want to fill out a Form DS-64. For

passports lost outside of the United States, click here. If your

passport was issued outside of the United States, notify the issuing

country's embassy.

Related Article: Where’s Your Deed and Other Vital Papers?

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insurance cards icon

Health Insurance Card or Auto Insurance:

Contact your insurance carriers. Ask for a replacement policy number.

This can protect you against unauthorized claims being filed on your

account. the issuing country's embassy.

Related Article: Where’s Your Deed and Other Vital Papers?

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membership cards icon

Library, Video Store, and Other Membership Cards:

Contact the issuer. Ask for a replacement policy number. Consider a new password, where applicable.

Related Article: Man Keeps Library Book 76 years. Fine? $0

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For more information, see the Identity Theft Resource Center’s Fact Sheet on Stolen Wallets, Purses and PDAs.

Drivers License image courtesy of Don Hankins, via Flickr

This image originally appeared on

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