You reach in your back pocket for your wallet– and it’s gone. With a sinking feeling, the first thing you might want to do is run from place to place in a panic. But if you take the following steps, you’ll save yourself, your bank account, and your identity a lot of trouble.
- Your debit card is probably the first item at risk in your wallet. It is easy for thieves to use your debit and spend a lot in a short time. Report your missing debit card within two days, and you’ll most likely avoid having to cover more than $50 of the money spent– and most banks won’t even charge you that. Wait 60 days, and you’ll be responsible for around $500 of the illegal charges. More than 60 days? Then it’ll be up to you to cover the charges. Here are the phone numbers of some of the bigger banks. If you don’t see your bank here, log into your bank’s website and there will be a listed 800 number for reports of stolen cards.
- Bank of America: 1-800-432-1000
- Chase: 1-800-935-9935
- Citibank: 1-800-950-5114
- Wells Fargo: 1-800-869-3557
2. Next, the credit card. According to the Fair Credit Billing Act, you will not be responsible for charges on your stolen credit card; so long as you report it stolen before charges occur. You’ll only be responsible for about $50 of the charges if you do report the theft after charges occur.
3. Call one of the national credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion) to set up a fraud alert. This will require creditors and lenders to check with you before opening any new credit cards or loans in your name.
4. Identity theft: look at our last post to learn how to avoid identity theft. And here’s a tip: leave the social security card at home in a secure place, because if a wallet thief gets a hold of it, you’ll be vulnerable to stolen identity.
5. File a report with your local police department. Once you do, then you can submit the report as evidence and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and fill out an Identity Theft Affidavit. Doing so will also allow you to get a new driver’s license and Social Security card.
Always keep your wallet in a secure location, and check your bank and credit card statements frequently for fraudulent activity. Jump into action immediately when your wallet is stolen, and you’ll reduce the consequences tenfold. Questions about your insurance policy? Call BMR Insurance today at 714-838-1911.