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Identity Theft and Stolen Wallets

November 13, 2007

I hope you’re reading this before your wallet or purse is stolen. If you are, follow the steps below to keep danger of identity theft to a minimum.

  • Don’t carry your social security card
  • Carry only one credit card – make a copy of both sides and keep in a safe place at home
  • Make a list of membership cards you carry – include account numbers and contact info
  • Make a copy of your insurance card – both sides – keep in a safe place at home
  • Don’t write your PIN number on your ATM or debit card – don’t write it on anything else in your wallet either

If you’ve lost your wallet or purse, you need to immediately take steps to minimize the damage.

  • File a Police Report – important. This proves the date, time and location of the theft or loss.
  • Lost Driver’s License – contact the DMV of your state and report it.
  • Contact your bank – report stolen ATM or debit card. If you had  your checkbook in your purse, get a stop payment on the range of check numbers you were carrying. There will probably be a fee for this but  you won’t be liable for any unauthorized checks that were written. Consider closing that account and opening a new one. Remember to change any payments that are on automatic withdrawals.
  • Change PIN numbers
  • Social Security Card – report stolen or lost card to the Social Security Administration fraud hotline at 1-800-772-1213
  • Put a Fraud Alert on your credit report – contact any of the credit bureaus and request a fraud alert. It will need to be renewed every 90 days. TransUnion – 800-680-7289 – Equifax – 800-525-6285 – Experian – 888-397-3742
  • Contact your credit card companies – you can find your account numbers and Customer Service numbers on your credit card statements. Report loss or theft and request a new account number.
  • Insurance Card – request a new card – report old one as lost or stolen
  • Membership Cards – Contact any places you have a membership with like a library card, gym, country club, etc. Let them know of the loss/theft and get a new card.
  • House keys – have your door locks rekeyed or install new ones
  • Car Keys – get a locksmith or car dealership to rekey your car locks.
  • Cell Phone – call your cell provider immediately. You’ll be responsible for calls until you report it lost or stolen.
  • Credit Monitoring – sign up for credit monitoring or an identity theft protection service. Compare these services here.
  • Order your credit report – if you don’t use a credit monitoring service, get your credit report for free at annualcreditreport.com. Wait a month after the theft to get one because it will take that long to show up on your report.

 

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