Sounds like the tagline for the commercial for that famous company, right? Well, I mean the question to stimulate your thoughts just in case…
You see, a client of mine just had his wallet stollen. One of the first things that crosses one’s mind in that panic-stricken situation is, of course, “What did I have in my wallet?”. It is indeed an awful thing to happen to anyone. In addition to feeling violated, who has the time to deal with contacting banks, credit card companies, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and any other company that concerns the contents of your wallet?
To ward off the pangs of regret, knowing it is too late when disaster strikes, adopt a rather simple proactive stance right now. Go get your wallet and empty out its contents onto a table. Make photocopies of the cards – front and back – on your computer or even with your phone. Keep these photocopies in a safe, secure location, i.e., a place that has easy access when in the panic of the moment, but not accessible to unwanted eyes. If you took pictures of everything on your phone, those photos should be stored in the Cloud. If you scanned them into your computer, you could easily file them away in a folder. I might also suggest keeping a hard copy of everything with your other important documents.
Steps to take if your wallet is stolen:
- Create a list of what was in your wallet
- Contact your local police department and file a report. This will verify that you were a victim of crime if you must prove any fraudulent accounts were opened in your name.
- Call the following:
- Bank – where your debit card is linked
- Credit card companies
- Credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion
- Tell them your credit card has been stolen
- Freeze your credit
- Get credit report
- Department of Motor Vehicles to re-issue your driver’s license
- Health insurance provider
- Auto insurance carrier
- Social Security Administration (SSA) – please tell me you are not still carrying your SS card in your wallet? If so, please stop!
- Update all your accounts with online auto payments once new debit/credit cards are replaced
- Change passwords and if possible, start using two-factor authentication
Being prepared now with a copy of all the contents of your wallet will make the process easier when you do know what is in your wallet. If, heaven forbid, you do become a victim of theft. After all, “Better safe than sorry.”