What You Should Do If Someone Steals Your Wallet Or Handbag!!!
There is a tremendous amount of personal information in your wallet and for the ladies, in their handbags as well. That quantity of information translates to a large amount of liability. Consider if someone steals or finds your wallet they have:
- Your name
- Driver's license
- Credit cards or ATM
And for many people:
- Any personal notes, keepsakes, or phone numbers you had written in you wallet
- Pictures of your family
- Your gym ID
- Your company ID
- Your school ID
- Your Social Security Card (which should be in the safe deposit box, NOT your wallet)
The main point here is that they have a lot of information on you. And all of that information makes ID theft a cinch.
There is a booming "full service" black market for identity cards and financial information. The go on the top of that list, next all of your credit cards and gas cards, then your driver's license, followed by the less important cards of health insurance, gym memberships, and other cards. Generally international selling of stolen identities, everything down to the sale of credit account numbers, accurate PIN numbers, and your mother's maiden names. With the increased popularity of the Internet, on-line black market hubs appear one month with a certain overnight website, then close up shop and shift to another hard-to-trace international website the next month.
Stolen identification cards are in huge demand right now. One of the main reasons stolen cards are in demand is because it is far easier to find work with a state-issued ID. So if you're an illegal immigrant working in Los Angeles, your chances of finding a job skyrocket if you can deliver a California driver's license.
The simplest and most helpful piece of advice is this: don't store all of your credit cards in your wallet, because if you lose that wallet, or if it is stolen, you don't have any credit cards left. Many people have learned this the hard way.
What I do suggest that you do the following today, not when your wallet or handbag is stolen.
** Make a copy, front and back, of ALL the cards that are in your wallet: ATM/Debit cards go on the top of that list, next all of your credit cards and gas cards, then your driver's license, followed by the less important cards of health insurance, gym memberships, and other cards. Generally speaking, the list should be prioritized by financial liability. These copies will have all the information you will need should your wallet or handbag be stolen. Keep this list in a safe place, such as either a safe in your house, wherever you keep your valuables in your house.
Should Your Wallet Be Stolen:
Call your ATM/debit card companies first. Report your ATM/debit cards as lost or stolen. Many banks will walk you through the process and are very understanding. With that said, the reason to call banks before credit card companies is that not all banks have theft protection.
Next, call your credit card companies. Here's the good news with credit cards: these compainscompanies lawfully must have theft protection. If your credit card gets taken and someone uses it, credit card companies only hold you accountable for the first $50 dollars.
Next, call one of the three major credit bureaus. They are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Contact one with a fraud/security alert and they will contact the other two. Their contact information is listed below. It is recommended you run an "Initial Security Alert" which requires creditors to confirm your identity before extending your credit. This is useful if someone tries to open up a credit line or other account in your name. The alert is functional for 90 days and does not affect your credit score. If you know that your credit has been used fraudulently then you can put an "Extended Fraud Victim Alert" on it. This alert is good for 7 years.
Next, to call on your gas card. theives can only run up so much money on this card in 24 to 72 hours.
The next thing you must do is to file a police report. This will give you legal documentation that your wallet was stolen or lost. Some credit card companies and banks require you have this documentation.
Go down to the DMV and get another driver's license. Some states require the police report if your license has been stolen.
The last really important call is your health insurance card. Health insurance fraud is an increasing concern in the United States. In this type of fraud, an imposter will show up to a health clinic or hospital and get treated using the victim's insurance information. Many times, they will just have to make the co-payment, and often they will leave the victim with the rest of the bill, both costing a great deal of money
Finally, deal with all the cards of lesser importance like your gym membership, student IDs, grocery club cards, etc...
Contact information for major credit bureaus:
Consumer Fraud Division
Phone: 800-525-6285 or: 404-885-8000
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Experian's National Consumer Assistance
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013
Fraud Victim Assistance Department
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92634-6790