Panic and despair are two word that aptly describe the state of mind when it dawns upon you that your wallet is missing!
As the saying goes, “adversity makes men”, I want to share the lessons learned as I lived through the adversity of having lost my wallet in the last week.
- Make a note of all the contents of your wallet, either on old-fashioned notepad or in an electronic file and keep it in a secure place.
- Periodically, scan the wallet and update the contents of the note accordingly
- Invest in technology and get yourself an RF-ID protected wallet
- And ofcouse, if possible don’t loose your wallet!
Once the realization of not a chance in the world of getting the wallet back sinks in, do the following: Spend 5 minutes thinking hard as to the contents of wallet. If it helps, I have summarized a few items that I think are commonly found in Men’s wallet
- Worst case scenario, copy of one’s SSN.
- Driver’s license
- Debit Card
- Umpteen credit cards (primary reason for my 1st lesson)
- Photo of loved ones.
- Passport card
- Random stuff (that no one has a chance of remembering without a secure note)
SSN makes it easy for anyone to steal personal information and commit identity theft fraud. So if you have lost your wallet with SSN in it, let it be a lesson for life. Memorize the number and keep SSN card locked in a safe.
Lets now talk about steps to minimize the damage that can be brought about by lost wallet.
Action Items after lost wallet
- Call the bank who issued your debit card and request them to put a hold on the card. If there is no hope of recovering the wallet, you can also request them to cancel the card and reissue a new card. You can request expedited delivery of new card as well. In my case, I bank with Bank of America and their fraud alert link is : https://www.bankofamerica.com/privacy/resolve-identity-theft.go
- Notify credit bureaus: Transunion, Experian and Equifax. You can request a freeze on account or put a temporary alert on your credit file. I called Equifax first and found out that once you file fraud alert with Equifax, they notify the other credit bureaus.. Saves some trouble of individually contacting each of the 3 credit bureaus.
- Request a stop on or cancel all your active credit card accounts. This was the key for one of my lessons learned. I simply could not remeber all the credit cards in my wallet and as a measure of safety, I had to dig into all possible active credit cards I have and then call each of the credit card issuers individually to request a stop on my CC account. Here are the resources to a the firms that I have CC from: Discover; Chase; CapitalOne.
- Request a replacement for driver’s license. Reach out to your local DMV office to figure out the best approach to replace your drivers licence. For the state of WA, the information can be obtained from: DMV
- Finally, and I hope you do not have to do this, go to SSN administration website to request a new SSN card.
So there you have it.. do not panic and go through the above check list to get your life back after lost wallet and for future, make note of the lessons learned.
Getting back to my story, a few days after I lost my wallet and having gone through the pain of calling various agencies.. I get a ping on my LinkedIn profile with the following message:
Hi, Your wallet is safe at ****** . We are open until 8 tonight and open at 7 tomorrow. It will be in locking cabinet under the cash register. Ask the barista for it. Also, as a dad of a child with epilepsy thank you for your works. Cheers
Alls well that ends well!
Posted in: General Musing