What To Do When You Lose Your Wallet

Find out what you need to do if you’ve lost your wallet and want to secure your personal information.
By Mike Parker
Updated Nov 21, 2022
A lost wallet.
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If you’ve lost your wallet, handbag, or purse, it can be a worrying time. You don’t know who might have it and what they will do with your information.

In some cases, losing your wallet can be a big security risk as important information like your driver’s license, bank cards, checkbook, credit cards, and permits can be misused by criminals in a number of ways.

Learn about the steps you should take if you’ve lost your wallet with our guide.

Losing Your Wallet Can Cost You More than Just Money

It’s a big hassle when you lose your wallet and you’ll likely never see it again so it’s important to treat it as if it’s been stolen. 

This may sound pessimistic but you can protect yourself from long-term complications by taking action and stopping any potential threats before they happen.

If a person has access to the content of your wallet, they can potentially create debt for you, cause your credit score to decline, and even commit fraud in your name.

A man who has lost his wallet.

Source: Unsplash

What Can Someone Do with the Information in a Wallet?

Losing your wallet can be stressful, especially if you have important personal information in it. Not only do you have to deal with the hassle of canceling your credit card, debit card, and replacing lost cash, but you also have to worry about identity theft. 

One of the most important items in your wallet is your driver's license, which contains a wealth of personal information. If it falls into the wrong hands, a thief can use it to commit fraud or even steal your identity.

If you had cash in your wallet, you should treat this money as gone because in most situations a person will take the money and dump your wallet.

If you carry a:

  • Specialized gun permit

  • Social security card

  • Health insurance card

  • Driver’s license

  • Other government-issued cards like a Medicare card

An unscrupulous person may use these cards to commit crimes like medical identity theft, Medicare fraud, and tax fraud.

If you had a checkbook or check in your wallet when you lost it, you’ll need to report it to the issuing bank as people may try to use it to commit check fraud in your name.

A lost wallet.

Source: Unsplash

Retracing Your Steps to Find Your Lost Wallet

  • It’s normal to feel panicked the moment you realize your wallet is gone, but the best thing to do is to take steps to see if you can find it again.

  • Think about the last time you had it and where you were, and then write down all the places you went in the past day.

  • Call people you met up with or saw in the past 24 hours and ask them if they’ve noticed anything suspicious because your wallet is missing. 

  • If you’ve visited restaurants, bars, or other businesses, call them and ask to see if anyone at work picked up a wallet or handed one in. 

  • Visit the places you went and look around on the floor, under tables, and under chairs to see if you’ve dropped it at some point.

Reporting Your Lost Wallet to the Police

If you are unable to find your wallet, the first thing you need to do is report any missing items to the police and your banks.

Visit your nearest police station to file a police report with them. State what your wallet looks like and list everything that was in it.

This will help them identify it if someone brings it in and it will also leave a paper trail for insurance claims and disputes if someone uses your banking information to buy items online, or commits check fraud with your identity. 

List Everything That Was in Your Wallet

It’s crucial that you write down everything that was in your wallet in the police report.

This can be extremely useful if you need to prove that you were the victim of fraud at a later date. In some cases, you may have to file an identity theft affidavit, so this step is crucial.

For example, let’s say you forget to list a credit card as lost, and then it is used to make purchases in your name. In this case, it would be very difficult to prove that you’ve been the victim of identity theft and you may be liable for all of the debt incurred.

A man reporting his wallet as stolen

Source: Unsplash

Call Your Bank

Contact your bank or financial services provider and notify them that you have lost your debit and check cards.

They will be able to tell you exactly what you need to do and they will send you replacement cards. Your bank will also deactivate your lost cards so that no one can use them.

The important thing to remember is that you’ll need to act quickly. Criminals know that they have limited time to act before a person cancels their cards and usually try to spend as much money as they can in the shortest amount of time. 

Our advice is to call your bank as soon as you suspect that your wallet is lost or stolen. Lower the spending limits on all of your cards so that nobody can use your accounts to make large purchases and create debt in your name.

Stolen credit cards.

Source: Pixabay

Call Your Credit Card Issuers to Report Your Cards as Stolen

If your credit card is lost or stolen, it's important to report it to your credit card companies right away. This will help to prevent fraud and protect your credit rating.

When you report your card as stolen, your issuer will cancel the card and issue you a new one. You may also be responsible for any charges that were made before you reported the theft.

In order to report a lost or stolen credit card, you will need to contact your credit card issuer's customer service department. 

They will ask you for some basic information, such as your name and account number, and then they will cancel your card and issue you a new one. If you have any questions about reporting a lost or stolen credit card, be sure to contact your issuer for more information.

Digital Identity Protection Help

The process of getting new debit cards and credit cards can be time consuming and stressful. You also have to deal with protecting your accounts from unauthorized purchases and fraudulent charges.

Using a top-notch digital identity protection solution can help make the process easier. Not only will it be able to send you instant fraud alerts, but it will also be able to give you fraud protection so that you don’t end up losing money or incurring debt in your name.

Want to learn more? Speak to one of our consultants today about the best digital protection software options out there.

Change Your Online Account Details and Autopays

It’s also a good idea to revise and update your online account information by changing your passwords and removing your lost card details from the different online stores you use.

Because hackers can move quickly, people often find that their accounts have been compromised within a couple of hours and in some cases a few minutes.

If you have digital identity protection software, you should be notified as soon as someone tries to use your account for any purpose. You can then block these attempts in real-time before they can withdraw money from your account or make purchases in your name.

Replacing Your Cards, Permits, and Other Devices

The important thing to remember with a lost wallet is to report your lost items to the companies, authorities, and people in question.

Your bank will expedite your new debit card and offer you alternative ways of using your account if you don’t have a bank card to withdraw money.

Some banks will temporarily lower your withdrawal limit on your bank account and let you withdraw money without a bank card from ATMs and their local branches. If you had a device or other item, such as a money clip in your wallet when it was stolen, you may be able to put in a claim with your insurance to have the item replaced. However, you’ll need proof of insurance for this item.

If you had your health insurance card in your wallet, you’ll need to contact your health insurance company to get a new one. The same is true for your auto insurance card and social security card.

Call your insurance companies and the Social Security Agency, notify them about your lost cards, and they will offer instructions on how to get your cards replaced.

Get Identity Theft Protection

Once you realize that your wallet has been stolen, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself from identity theft. One way to do this is to get identity theft protection. 

This type of protection can help to monitor your personal information and alert you if there are any signs of fraud or misuse. 

Additionally, it can provide assistance with reporting the crime and helping you to recover financially. By taking steps to protect yourself, you can help to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of identity theft.

Checking That You Aren’t a Victim of Fraud or Theft

If you suspect that your wallet has been stolen and that someone might be using your personal information for criminal activities, you’ll need to take action to stop this.

One way of keeping tabs on your personal information and protecting yourself is by using identity theft protection software.

These programs monitor your credit reports, bank accounts, and online profile, and immediately notify you of any suspicious activity as it happens.

If you don’t have identity theft protection software you can do all of this manually by contacting your bank, reviewing your credit card statement, and checking your online shopping platform profiles.

A man who got a new wallet after his was lost.

Source: Unsplash

Be Wary of Scams

Because your personal information has been compromised, you’ll need to be on the lookout for other scams.

It’s often the case that people will sell your information to criminal groups who will then try to scam you out of money over the phone or via email.

These people will usually pose as employees of a well-known company that you use or even as government officials. They are known to use advanced tactics like setting up fake websites, fake email addresses, and fake companies to fool you into thinking that they are legitimate.

If you don’t have digital identity protection software that can warn you about these scams, then you’ll need to be more on guard against scam attempts if your wallet has been stolen.

Tips to Not Fall for Phone or Email Scams

  • Never give out personal information over the phone.

  • Always check the emails and numbers against the official website of the company; do a Google search to find it.

  • Never give in to threats or anger over the phone. If a person becomes aggressive, ask to speak to their manager or to rather send their complaint through a registered post.

  • Ask for the credentials of people calling you and contact the company to find out if they are legitimate before revealing any personal information to them.

A scammer using a stolen card.

Source: Unsplash

FAQs about What to Do If You Lose Your Wallet

What do you do if you lose your wallet?

If you’ve discovered that your wallet is missing or you think you may have lost it, you should report it to the police, contact your bank, and call your credit provider to cancel your cards.

How do you find your wallet if you’ve lost it?

If you’ve lost your wallet try to retrace your steps and think about all the places you’ve been in the last 24 hours. Go back to those places and ask if anyone has seen it. If you don’t find it, you should report it to the police and cancel your cards.

Who should you contact if you lose your wallet?

You should contact your bank or your credit card company to cancel your cards as soon as you can. If you think that you’ve just misplaced your wallet, you can also call your bank to lower your spending limits while you try to find it.

Where Can I Learn More about Digital Identity Theft Protection?

If you’ve lost your wallet or suspect that it has been stolen, then you’ll need to act fast to limit any potential damage to your finances, credit record, and reputation.

Using digital identity theft protection is a great way of ensuring you and your family are covered in case you ever lose your wallet.

If you’d like to find out more about the best digital identity protection programs out there, be sure to reach out to one of our agents at 1-888-912-2132 or help@policyscout.com to get started.