What to Do If You Lose Your Wallet

Losing your wallet can be stressful, but having a plan to replace the contents of your wallet can help make it a bit of a headache rather than a disaster. If you can afford the luxury of time, the first thing you should do is also the most obvious: trace your steps, call wherever you may have left it, and hope for a quick fix. If you are quite sure that your wallet is gone forever – or you are not willing to risk the time it takes to do a thorough search – it’s time to start the process of canceling and replacing what you had. Let’s walk through a step-by-step process of what you need to do with your lost IDs, credit and membership cards.

Know what’s in your wallet

Zero phase must occur before you lose your wallet, to find out that there is, in the event of loss or theft. Keep a digital copy of the contents of your wallet, including scans of the front and back of my credit cards, debit cards, IDs, gym passes, customer loyalty cards, health insurance cards, etc. There can be many things in your wallet, much more than you can remember from memory (for example, you may have forgotten your library card, discount prescription card, dental insurance card, and museum memberships), so have a copy of what can save you from memory stress. Sort them together and take multiple shots or run them through the scanner. When the time comes, you will be happy you did, and the rest will be easier.

Cancel your credit and debit cards

Now it’s time for sorting, which usually starts with handling your money. This means calling to cancel your financial cards. We previously noted that keeping the phone number of your credit card company is a good idea, but it’s also easy to find on the Internet. If your wallet has been gone for a long time (or you don’t know how long it has been out), you can speak with a representative to explain your situation and review the last few transactions to make sure no one tried to use it. … Otherwise, you can use their app or automated service to block your card or cancel it entirely while they send you a new one. Tip: Many banks offer expedited shipping, so you can get a new card within a day or two; you only need to ask. They usually tell you the delivery times and ask if this works for you. If so, great; if not, let them know you need it and use expedited shipping.

Call the non-emergency hotline

Calling the police after losing your wallet may seem like overkill, but it can be an important step in preventing fraud. To be clear, the police really can not do anything to bring back your lost wallet, but the police report that your wallet is lost or stolen, it may come in handy if someone tries to steal your identity, try out your credit cards, or it is abominable to use whatever they find.

Upgrade your subscriptions and online accounts

It should also start by making a list before you need it; Automatic bill payment and subscription services are good as long as you don’t lose your credit card and have to go through each one to add new information. If you lose your cards and ask to replace them with new ones, you will need to update your accounts with the new card information. If you have a list, great; If not, start with your most obvious bills – utilities, phone, internet – and work your way up to subscriptions and less-used accounts until you hopefully cover most of your bases. It’s also worth considering any online purchases you may have made recently but haven’t made yet. If you have made a preliminary order and your card will not be charged until it is sent, you need to update the card number in the order. Take this opportunity to start keeping an up-to-date list of all the sites, services, and subscriptions that you use your expense accounts on, so you’re ready the next time it happens.

Get a new driver’s license or ID

The least fun part of losing your wallet is replacing your ID. Nobody wants to spend the day at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Each state has its own policy on the steps you need to take, but don’t be surprised if you have to show up in person, file a police report, or pay a fee. You can find a list of requirements for your state in The Unofficial DMV Guide .

Replace your different cards

After more urgent cards – financial and ID – it’s time to move on to less urgent, but still important enough: insurance cards, bonus cards, retail cards, library cards and everything else. Find phone numbers or websites on the internet, tell them about your wallet, and request a replacement. Even seemingly insignificant library cards deserve some attention – the last thing you want in the mail is a bill for expired library books that you never received. While you’re working on your list, take this opportunity to clean up the decks: if you don’t need them, delete the unused accounts without replacing them.

Request a credit report and initiate a fraud notification

Even after you have canceled your credit cards, it is a good idea to request a credit report and put a fraud alert on your account if your wallet has been out for a long time. You can get a credit report from the Annual Credit Report for free and start reporting fraud at Experian , TransUnion, or Equifax . This service is free and will monitor your credit for 90 days, so if you (or someone else) try to create a new account or take out a loan, you will be contacted to confirm that it is you.

It’s not a fun process, but if you take care of the above steps right away, you can make sure your identity is safe and get back to normal quickly. Finally, of course, you will need to buy a new wallet.

This post was originally published in 2012 and has been updated in 2020 to provide more information and follow the Lifehacker style guidelines.

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