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Lost or Stolen Wallet? No Problem!


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A handy guide for those who have lost or have had their wallet stolen; providing steps and useful tips on how to get you back on your feet and to stay that way.

Published in: Economy & Finance, Business
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Lost or Stolen Wallet? No Problem!

  1. 1. Lost or Stolen Wallet? No Problem! Your Easy Step-by-Step Peace of Mind to Identity Theft Recovery & AvoidanceF or centuries wallets were just simple provide you useful pointers on how to reduce the carrying cases for trivial knick-knacks chances of it occurring again. but as society evolved so had itspurpose. Now, the advent of vehicles, large- First and foremost you must come to termsscale metro cities, and suburban mega malls are emotionally that your wallet is more than likelymaking it easier for our senses to be flooded never going to be recovered. This doesn’twith every imaginable want and need located at necessarily mean that you won’t see it again butvery short distances. Because of these growing you must accept the possibility that it is gone forconveniences there is increasing demand that we good so that you can take action swiftly. Manycarry more of our personals; so it is no surprise people tend to hold onto hope way too long andthat most people take every imaginable don’t follow through with the necessary steps toidentification (driver’s license, club cards, and protect their identity in time. Taking action toobusiness cards), credit cards, photographs, cash late can cost you more than the paper currencyand checks/cheques, receipts, contact slips, and you had in your wallet.more when they head out the door. For the remainder of this publication when I sayDo we really need to carry so much? In most “lost wallet” I am referring specifically to acases the answer is “no”! But with a plethora of wallet that was either lost through error or byactivity one can do in a given day it’s just easier have everything with you in the off chanceyou “may” need it even if you don’t plan to use The Signsit. In other words, better to have it and not need When you lose your wallet the real problems canit than to need it and not have it. This mentality, take days, weeks, or even months to revealalthough incredibly convenient, leaves us even themselves so don’t think because you haven’tmore dangerously exposed to identity and seen unusual activity within the first 24 hoursvaluables theft. For most, losing one’s wallet by that you’ve miraculously dodged the proverbialway of having it stolen or through negligence is bullet. Here are some long-term red flags toa devastatingly debilitating experience that has look out for as possible indicators that yourleft many emotionally and physically scarred. identity may have been compromised:It’s only when this happens that we begin toregret having so much in our wallet. 1. You start receiving unexpected calls from creditors demanding payment for goods youIf you are reading this publication after recently never purchased.losing your wallet then rest assured this isn’tgoing to lecture you about the mistakes you 2. Despite having a respectable credit historymade and point fingers. That is not helpful. The you start receiving rejection notices whenpurpose of this writing is to walk you through applying for credit.the necessary steps to get you back on your feetin the quickest possible way, and to hopefully 3. Unexplainable credit card transactions posted to one or more of your accounts.1|Page
  2. 2. 4. Bills stop arriving. This could be an only recommended in cases where you have a indication that a thief has changed your strong belief that you simply misplaced the address on accounts in order to conceal their card(s) and it wasn’t in fact stolen. Reporting a activities. card stolen with the bank/retailer will leave you without a credit card for several weeks.The Steps Important Contacts You Should KnowTaking prompt and decisive action is your onlycourse for protection. In priority order, here is American Express 1.800.668.2639your no nonsense step-by-step list on reclaiming BMO 1.800.361.3361your personal peace-of-mind: Capital One 1.800.481.32391. Credit Cards (incl. Retail-branded) Cards CIBC 1.800.465.2422Excluding cash, credit and retail cards offered Chase 1.800.945.2000out en masse by banks and retailers are the Citi 1.800.950.5114quickest way for thieves to cash in on your good Discover 1.800.347.2683name. Although most of these types of cards MBNA 1.888.876.6262now come equipped with a chip (requiring a PIN# to be used) it should never be overlooked that ScotiaBank 1.888.823.9657most retailers still offer you the alternative of TD 1.800.983.8472signing instead of using a pin. A thief merelyneed only get a rudimentary understanding of 2. Gift Cardshow to imitate your signature (as displayed on Most large retail chains provide gift cards. Giftthe back of most of your cards) in front of a cards are a form of in-store cash. Several creditlackluster cashier who never truly scrutinizes for card providers have also jumped into the mixan accurate signature match. And online and also offer their own branded gift cards.purchases are a whole other thing. A thief These types of cards are much harder to recoverdoesn’t require a signature or a PIN to make when lost because by their very design anyonepurchases online. However, their purchases can can use them – there are no security restrictions.leave a trail and provide clues as to where the However, if you still have the original receiptthief resides. it’s possible you can contact customer serviceYour first course of action upon losing your and alert them so they can transfer the balance,credit cards is to phone your provider. Virtually invalidate the lost card, and reissue a new one.all credit card company’s first phone selection But you must do so before the card is emptiedoption is to report it lost/stolen. Select this out by the thief.option and you will immediately be put in Although it is tempting to carry gift cards withcontact with a representative who will walk you you all the time it is not recommended.through the process of suspending and reissuing Preferably, consider only carrying a gift card ona new credit card in the mail. the day(s) you plan on using them.Although there is a small chance of recovering Important Contacts You Should Knowyour credit cards you may opt to only suspend(and later reactivate) your credit cards. In other 1.866.216.1072words, not file an official lost/stolen. This is2|Page
  3. 3. Best Buy 1.888.716.7994 It’s strongly advised you request a credit report from both agencies to keep an eye on your Costco Not Replaceable profile. The process is free and can be done via Future Shop 1.800.663.2275 fax, phone, or online. It probably wouldn’t be Gap 1.800.427.7895 worth getting the report right away because they K-Mart 1.866.562.7848 are only updated once every 3-months. Pizza Hut 1.888.344.6519 Important Contacts You Should Know Toys R Us 1.800.869.7787 Equifax (Flag Alert) 1.800.465.7166 Wal-Mart 1.800.411.7942 TransUnion (Flag Alert) 1.888.909.88723. Credit Bureaus 4. PIN #s and PasswordsThe two major credit profile collecting agenciesin North America are Equifax and TransUnion. Never keep any of your passwords (and PINs) inCredit bureaus serve to help businesses get a your wallet; always memorize them. It seemsbetter understanding of your credit history (how obvious but all too often I have seen cases wherewell you pay back your debts). Your activities people will carry little scraps of paper to serve asare maintained for 5-8 years. The longer an reminders, revealing many of their privateidentification thief has access to your details the secrets. The problem is over time those scrapshigher the probability that their malicious are forgotten to exist but still carried. Don’tactivity will have a detrimental effect on your make this mistake even if these passwords andability to secure further credit and loans. PINs don’t reveal which accounts they are associate with – never underestimate theFortunately, both bureaus have a hotline to persistence of identity stolen identification affording you theability to place a fraud alert flag on your profile It is of utmost importance that you change eachwarning businesses about offering credit without of your PINs and passwords if you did in factfirst asking for additional identification and even carry such a list in your wallet. Better to be safecontacting you directly if the person is claiming than be a family member. Once enabled this flag 5. Filing a Police Reportremains on for 6 years. You can have itremoved sooner by submitting a written Depending on how much personal informationstatement. This feature gives you peace of mind was in your wallet you may elect to file a policethat any thief will have a harder time devaluing report. There isn’t much hope in recoveringyour good name. But this flag will require you your wallet’s contents by filing such a report butto jump through a few more hoops with creditors it does provide you with the necessaryas they confirm your identity. And although paperwork you can use whenthey can’t legally deny you credit with such a reporting/recovering your other lost/stolenwarning in place for those six years it is possible identification and can help prove your case ofthey may view you as a potential risk and find theft to credit collectors. This is a commonan excuse not to offer you credit/loan. So just be route for those who have lost their SIN (Socialwarned about this potential inconvenience. Insurance Numbers for Canadians) or SSN (Social Security Numbers for US Citizens) cards.3|Page
  4. 4. Police reports must be performed at your local Most banks have very strong control measuresstation and takes about 30mins. It is not and so you don’t need to worry too much aboutnecessary for you to book an appointment just this but if you know the check #s I recommendwalk-in and ask to file a report. you put a stop request on them through your bank as an added precaution. In any case just6. SIN/SSN Number Reporting keep an eye out for unauthorized check use.Every Canadian and American has a SIN (Social 8. Debit CardsInsurance Number for Canadians) or SSN(Social Security Number for Americans). An Also known as ATM or ABM cards, debit cardsidentity thief can do a lot of damage if they are issued by banks allowing its customers toknow this specific detail about you. This is why make purchases using money directly from theiryou should never ever carry this card with you personal bank accounts while at retail(memorize it). But if you did happen to lose this establishments. Cash withdrawals are also acard a thief can apply for credit cards and loans common action. One significant benefit of usingin your name. They can also seek out a debit card over a credit card is that it limitsemployment and get extended medical benefits your loss to the daily amount set by the bankwith this number. So losing this identification (usually $200-$500). It also has the addedcan be the most costly form of theft of them all security of insisting that a personalized PIN # beand potentially the most difficult to detect. entered each time, unlike credit cards which only recently adopted PIN security, and stillThese cards are administered by their respective allows for signatures or using the CCV #governments. When you lose your card it is of (located on the back of the card) when makingutmost importance to notify them so that they online purchases.can potentially flag your number and issue out anew number in the process. In most cases they However, there are a certain few in thewill simply reissue the same number. population that like to keep their PIN #s close by. Some will even write their PIN on the backAs a helpful note, if you do not remember your of their debit cards or place it on a sheet of papernumber, you can look to your prior income tax and stuffed (and forgotten) in their wallet. Ifassessments; it is shown on them. you are one of those types you must learn to let go of that security blanket. With your PIN # anyImportant Contacts You Should Know thief can drain you dry. Although there is a Service Canada 1.800.206.7218 daily limit any passionate thief can collect enough information about you and call to have SSA (US Citizens) 1.800.772.1213 your withdraw limit increased and leave you in7. Checks/Cheques (Unendorsed) an even bigger hole.This may not be that much of a concern to many Important Contacts You Should Knowbut because your signature does exist on other Bank of America 1.800.848.6090IDs in your wallet (credit cards, drivers license)it does pose a potential issue in that it makes it Bank of Montreal 1.877.225.5266easier for thieves to use these checks on your Chase 1.800.935.9935behalf. CIBC Debit 1.800.465.24224|Page
  5. 5. Citigroup 1.800.950.5114 identity thief were to get a hold of your health information they can make use of it for their PNC Financial 1-888.762.2265 own benefit. Canada recently adopted photo ids ScotiaBank 1.800.472.6842 for their health cards which make it one step SunTrust Bank 1.800.786.8787 harder for illegal immigrants to impersonate TD Canada Trust 1.866.222.3456 you. Wells Fargo 1.800.869.3557 It’s highly recommended that you contact your coverage provider and inform them of the loss9. Driver’s License (Insurance/Ownership) so they can be on full alert of any new andThis is the most common form of identification possibly unusual activity.that will be lost since it is the most likely to be Important Contacts You Should Knowin a wallet. The primary issue with losing yourlicense (or accompanying insurance/ownership) Aetna 1.800.872.3862is that it provides the thief more information Blue Shield 1.800.393.6130about you -- your address, name, who yourinsurance provider is, etc. They can use this Highmark 1.412.544.7000information to help supplant you in other areas. Humana 1.800.448.6262They can also use your address to make an Ministry of Health (Canada) 1.866.532.3161unannounced visit to your home. United Healthcare 1.866.223.5802Most countries don’t require you to carry your WellPoint 1.317.488.6000insurance and ownership with you -- they can beleft in your car’s glove compartment. 11. Birth CertificateYou only need to visit your driver’s service Although losing your birth certificate is notcenter to fill out a simple form and they will directly a problem this form of ID is helpfulmail you a duplicate of your driver’s license. when applying for (or replacing) a SIN/SSNThey will also provide you with a temporary card. It also serves as additional governmentlicense that you can use as you wait for the proof that you are who you say you are, a citizenreplacement to arrive in the mail. of that country. A thief, especially an illegal immigrant, could use your birth certificate asImportant Contacts You Should Know additional proof when procuring more IDs and ultimately taking over your identity completely. DMV (for Americans) 1.800.952.3696 Driver’s Licensing Centre 1.800.387.3445 There is no point in carrying your birth certificate with you at all. Always keep it10. Health Card (and Insurance Information) locked away at home. You will almost never need it. If it does happen to be one of yourAmericans who opt for health coverage do so lost/stolen IDs it is very important to contact theusually through their workplace and/or by agency responsible and have it replaced.paying premiums for extended insurancecoverage. Canadians, on the other hand, get 12. Passportmost of their healthcare through a nationwideuniversal free coverage. In both cases, if an Although a passport gives one the ability to travel outside their native country it can serve as5|Page
  6. 6. a valuable ID when applying for other forms of or even avoid such a predicament in the future,identification. Recently passports have adopted making you into a more savvy individual.more stringent security measures such asholograms to prevent tampering and forgeries. The AuthorHowever, it is still fairly easy for a thief to getby these measures. Emma Li is a personal finance correspondent for several online outlets producing such popularMost people don’t carry their passport with them writings as Questrade - An In-Depth Look.that often and so this type of loss is fairlyuncommon. However, if it is lost or stolen it’s Graduating with a degree in social psychologystill highly advised to get in contact with the from the University of Waterloo Emma chose togovernment and let them know and they will follow her true passion in life by shiftingreissue a copy. towards providing advice on personal finance and investing.Important Contacts You Should Know Emma splits her time in Toronto, Ontario and Passport Canada 1-800-567-6868 Fremont, California with her husband and two children. U.S. Dept. of State 1-877-487-2778The Final WordI have covered most of the common IDs that canand does get lost but there are countless otheridentifications one may be carrying in theirwallet. Regardless, the most important advice isto learn to only take with you the most importantIDs that you will be using on a day-to-day basisand leave the others at home locked away. Forthe most part the only IDs you should becarrying are: driver’s license (and insurance),health card, debit card(s), credit card(s), and asmall quantity of cash. All other forms of IDshould only be in your wallet on brief occasionswhen you actually need them.It’s also recommended that you only carry twocredit cards and two debit cards at most. Thereasoning is simple. One credit/debit cardserves as your primary tool for purchases whilethe other serves as backup. By limiting howmany cards you have in your wallet you limityour losses.Losing your wallet is never a fun experience butby taking these precautions and learning fromyour mistakes you can be better prepared to limit6|Page