6 Things To Do When You Lose Your Wallet

Losing your wallet is a major drag but if you act quickly you can mitigate the fallout, writes The Mint Blog:

1. Take immediate action
2. Report your debit cards as lost or stolen
3. Report your credit cards as lost or stolen
4. Get your license replaced
5. File a police report
6. Call one of the credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion) and place a fraud alert on your file. Lenders are then supposed to verify your identity before opening a new account.

Now, before you lose your wallet, consider making a photocopy or scan of its contents. — BEN POPKEN

Top Six Things To Do When You Lose Your Wallet [Mint]


Edit Your Comment

  1. aparsons says:

    I’ve lost my wallet plenty of times. Make sure you:

    1) Call your city’s lost & found. Many times, there is a city-wide system in place for dealing with a lost item. I lost my wallet in a Boston cab, and within 2 hours, the wallet was returned to the police department’s lost & found division.

    2) Ask each credit card to verify the last transaction before canceling. This will help you determine whether it was lost, or stolen.

    3) Ask your credit card company to overnight replacement cards. Major players (AMEX and Citi) do this free of charge.

    4) Filing a police report is probably overkill, to be honest if there were no recent fraudulent transactions.

    5) Have a “REWARD IF FOUND” card on the inside of your wallet. You’d be surprised at the number of people who find a wallet and want to return it. I have a business card that says “REWARD IF FOUND. PLEASE CALL ***-***-****.” If your driver’s license is in it, many people won’t bother sending it back to you because it is a hassle. But put a phone number in there! I do the same thing on the outside of my cell phone because I’ve lost a few of those in my day, too.

    The tip to call a credit reporting agency was useful, too. I didn’t think of that – so thanks!

  2. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    Having gone through the hassle of a lost wallet once, I came up with my own solution. Most wallets today come with a small removable folding card holder that’s just big enough for a license and one or two credit cards.

    I use this smaller “mini-wallet” for exactly that – license, debit card and one credit card. It also has a list of the customer service phone numbers for every single card in my main wallet.

    I’ve gotten in the habit of carrying it separately in another pocket, so if I do lose my wallet, or get it stolen, I have ID, access to cash, and a credit card. If I lose the smaller one, I only have three things replace (two, really, since I already have a duplicate license locked up at home).

    Of course, if I lose both I’m still pretty much screwed, but that’s far less likely because I rarely have any reason to take them both out at the same time.

    I’m curious if other readers think this is a good idea, or if I’m just being way too anal about the whole thing…

  3. cademan60 says:

    “Call one of the credit unions”

    Probably a typo; you would want to call one of the credit reporting agencies. Credit unions are not the same thing as the three credit reporting agencies.

  4. crackblind says:

    Filing a police report in NYC over a lost wallet is a major hassle. My pocket got picked somewhere between the bank and my office. When I went to the police station, first they refused because I didn’t witness the theft, so it was only lost. When I pressed, they asked where I last saw it and because it was at the bank in a different precinct, they wanted me to go to that station house instead. All along the kept insisting it would have to be listed as lost, not stolen, again because I didn’t actually see it happen.

    They are doing this because it adversely effects their crime statistics. Fortunately I keep my credit cards separate. The only thing I was concerned about was my driver’s license and my kids photos.

  5. eldergias says:

    Also, never EVER keep your Social Security card in your wallet. If the wrong person gets that, you are toast.

    @aparsons: That “reward if found” card is a great idea! After reading your post I immediately made one myself.

  6. AT203 says:

    How are you supposed to notify the credit card companies if the customer service numbers are on the lost cards? Well you could go through your bill and find the customer service numbers, and then call.

    What I did, in preparation :shudder:of losing my wallet was to make a list of the customer service number and account number for everything in my wallet (even student ID, and AAA card). I keep the list in a VERY safe place, and if I ever need to cancel my cards in a hurry, all of the information is in one place.

  7. RebekahSue says:


    How are you supposed to notify the credit card companies if the customer service numbers are on the lost cards? Well you could go through your bill and find the customer service numbers, and then call.

    I keep forgetting but I keep MEANING to photocopy front and back of all my cards so that I have the information. In a pinch, I could get the phone number off the Web, and get my account numbers out of my secure Checking account (since I pay my bills online). I know people who’ve done it, but I keep putting it off.

    I need to drop a thank you card to Chase. They phoned me a few weeks ago because a purchase caught their attention. (They confirmed all my info over the phone and didn’t ask me for any; I was wary when they called.) Not all the body jewelry purchases in Vegas (which were actually legit) but an infomercial purchase. I have no idea how they caught it, but it wasn’t MY purchase. I shredded the card when I was on the phone with them, and they sent me a new one within five business days.

  8. Call Social Security as well.

  9. Steel_Pelican says:

    I’ve been using’s TinyBug’s solution of the mini-wallet, but I also have a “crisis kit” that I think is worth sharing with the readers. I keep a number of things in a pre-paid USPS envelope that I leave with a trusted person, so if I ever lose my wallet (or cell phone) while traveling (which I do a lot for work), I’ll be covered.

    *I have a State ID card in addition to my Driver’s License- it’s a gov’t-issued photo ID, so it will get you onto a plane. It cost me about $25, and will work anywhere a driver’s license will (just not for driving).

    *I keep a list of all my important phone numbers as well, this is customer service #’s for all of my credit cards, etc., along with the last 4 digits of the corresponding accounts. It’s also good to have insurance group/member numbers there as well, in case you need to get an RX filled while wallet-less. Important contact phone numbers are good to include on this list, too, in case you lose your cell phone- do you know your office phone number by heart? I don’t.

    *An emergency credit card.

    *A spare car key and house key.

    If I lose things, I just call my trusted person, tell them the address of where I’m staying, and all they have to do is drop it into a mailbox.