What to Do When You Have Lost Your Wallet, Credit Cards or Laptop!

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Real Estate Agent with Good Company Real Estate License # SA577557000

Identity Theft

Suzanne McLaughlin has written an excellent post on what to do if your wallet goes missing, either by losing it or having it stolen. She first gives a great explanation on things to do in order to prepare for such an event, like making photocopies of the front and back of all your credit cards in advance. Then, she goes on to give a few suggestions on preventative ways not to give away your personal information, even when writing a check. Last, Suzanne talks about who to contact if you feel your identity has been stolen, and even provides the contact information in her post. Please read the entire post and share it with others so we can all help prevent, or at least minimize the ramifications of identity theft.

Original content by Suzanne McLaughlin

This is from an older post that I wrote years ago with some new updates.

Read this and make a copy for your files in case you need to refer to it someday.

A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company:

 1. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put 'PHOTO ID REQUIRED.' 

 2. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts,  DO  NOT put the complete account number on the 'For' line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won't have access to it.

 3. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your  SS# printed  on your checks. (DUH!) You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have it printed, anyone can get it.

 4. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine.  Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel.... Keep the photocopy in a safe place.  I also carry a photocopy of my passport when I travel either here or abroad.

We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards.

Unfortunately, I, an attorney, have first hand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month... Within a week, the thieves ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online, and more. 

But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:

 5. We have been told we should cancel your credit cards immediately.   But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.

 6.  File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).

 But here's what is perhaps most important of all: (I never even thought to do this.) 

7. Call  the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and also call the Social Security fraud line number. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the internet in my name. 

 The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

By the time I was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves' purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away this weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them dead in their tracks..

 Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact about your wallet, if it has been stolen:

 1.) Equifax: 1-800-525-6285 

 2.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742                

 3.) Trans Union : 1-800-680 7288

 4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line):  1-800-269-0271

 We pass along jokes on the Internet; we pass along just about everything...How about something useful as well?  If you are willing to pass this information along, it could really help someone whom you care about.

 

 

 

The information contained in this blog is believed to be true and correct and while every effort is made to ensure that the information is as accurate as possible, the author of this blog, and its comments disclaim any implied warranty or representation about its accuracy for any particular purpose. All information is copy written and the property of Suzanne McLaughlin.. 

For more information about real estate values in your area, give me a call or email me at 763-497-1870 or mclaughlinhomes@gmail.com  

Suzanne McLaughlin

Sabinske & Associates, Inc.    

When you need to buy or sell in St. Michael or Albertville Minnesota, or anywhere in Wright County, Sherburne County or Anoka County or Hennepin County, give me a call! 

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This post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you desire specific legal or tax advice, please consult the appropriate professional. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer. Troy Erickson will not be held liable for any errors, ommissions, accuracy, validity, currentness, suitability, completeness; or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use.

Comments (54)

Mandi Null
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN

It has happened to me before, that I have either misplaced or lost my wallet. Because of that experience I am always overly cautious of where my wallet/purse is. I never would have thought to do some of the tips listed. I will definitely be doing these things soon for myself and my husband. Thanks for some great information!

Feb 10, 2015 11:56 PM
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Mandi - Sorry you had to experience losing your wallet/purse, but glad these suggestions will help in case it happens again.

Feb 11, 2015 12:48 AM
Joe Jackson
Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty - Columbus, OH
Clintonville and Central Ohio Real Estate Expert
  • Great post thanks for sharing the information!
Feb 16, 2015 09:14 PM
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Joe - Glad you stopped by, and thanks for commenting.

Feb 17, 2015 04:02 AM
Sharon Paxson
Compass - Newport Beach, CA
Newport Beach Real Estate

Hi Troy - I would panic most likely if I lost my wallet or license, etc. But good suggestions on keeping copies of everything, but maybe keep a copy in a secure file in the cloud . . . so you can access it . . .

 

Feb 17, 2015 11:01 AM
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Sharon - I am a little scared about this cloud thing. I keep thinking that the bad guys are going to access everything out there on the cloud, and have information on everything everyone does online.

Feb 17, 2015 01:06 PM
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

Troy, this is an important re-blog.  I missed this post the first time.  I'm hope that thousands read this valuable information.

Feb 18, 2015 02:39 PM
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Sharon P. - Thanks, I thought it was pretty valuable myself, and wanted to get this info out to share with as many people as I could.

Feb 19, 2015 03:36 AM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

Troy, I did not see this when first posted, thanks for reblogging Suzanne's post. Great information to know.

Feb 20, 2015 12:26 PM
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Evelyn - Yes, I thought this was good information to share.

Feb 21, 2015 09:52 AM
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Troy Erickson this is a great reblog choice because we all need this important information!  I'm copying and printing it out just in case, so I'll be prepared.  

Feb 23, 2015 09:09 AM
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Maureen - Thank you, I am glad that this information can be helpful to you.

Feb 23, 2015 03:38 PM
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Troy, sadly, I've been through this--TWICE! Both while working in healthcare. Let me say another little item of interest, if you are working in an office and are near the lobby or public area, DO NOT put your purse (obviously if you are a woman) in a bottom drawer of your desk! You just NEVER know who could see you do this! 

Calling the nat'l credit organizations is one I learned awhile back, but had forgotten and seriously, who has those #s handy?? 

Also, know that the police put this in a low-priority situation. They almost never respond in person. When I worked in a sub-acute long term care facility (a nursing home/rehab facility), it would have been easy for this thief to steal other people's money as well as mine. They never showed up. 

I would also suggest that we do this for our aging parents who may or may not have some memory issues. Get their info printed off, too. 

I'll go thank Suzanne now!

Feb 24, 2015 04:55 AM
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Gayle - Ouch! I am sure having this happen to you once was bad enough. Great idea about doing this for our aging parents. Thanks for adding that suggestion.

Feb 24, 2015 05:04 AM
Gabrielle Kamahele Rhind
KGC Properties LLC, Tucson Property Management & Real Estate - Tucson, AZ
Broker/Owner

GOOD MORNING TROY!  Hmmm...tip #5 - good point!  I agree with you on the Cloud thing - I don't do it - it is pretty risky - I like the idea of it - but it always seems to me the information is out there somewhere and a lot of people who can access it.

Mar 14, 2015 08:12 PM
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Gabrielle - That's pretty much how I feel about the cloud as well.

Mar 15, 2015 03:57 AM
James Murr
Cortiers Real Estate - College Station, TX
www.cortiersrealestate.com

Very useful! You never know when you might lose something important!

Jun 11, 2015 02:37 AM
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

James - I am glad you found this information useful. Thanks for commenting.

Jun 11, 2015 04:02 AM
Debbie Laity
Cedaredge Land Company - Cedaredge, CO
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO

Hi, Troy...this is a great choice for a reblog. I wonder where Suzanne McLaughlin went. She could write some great posts. 

Dec 02, 2015 09:49 AM
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Debbie - Yes, Suzanne could really write, and provided some great info. She sort of disappeared back in March.

Dec 02, 2015 01:25 PM

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