One of our staff members recently had to deal with a stolen wallet. Someone then used her debit card to buy expensive computers online, which caused an overdraft of her account.
Her bank put a hold on her account, and she had no money for a week before this was cleared up. It was a giant pain in the rear end, to say the least!
This post explains what you should do BEFORE your wallet or purse is lost or stolen. If your wallet or purse has been stolen be sure to read this post about how to recover from that.
Tip 1 – Make a photocopy of everything in your wallet – front and back
Go to your office copier right now, take out everything in your wallet, and make a photocopy. Keep it in a file at home in a safe location. If your wallet is lost or stolen, you will have instant access to all your account numbers, card numbers, drivers’ license number, and the fraud reporting phone numbers your card issuer wants you to call.
Do not take photos and store them on your phone. If you someone steals your phone, you just gave that thief your wallet too!
If you cannot make a copy of everything right now, at least make a list of all your banks and credit card issuers along with the fraud reporting number they ask you to call to report a lost or stolen card.
Tip 2 – Get a password keeper app
There are a ton of apps out there to store and remember all your passwords. Get a good one, with robust encryption. You can also store credit card information, social security numbers, etc.
I personally use one and I almost never look at my physical credit cards to use them. I use the app. They have modules that hook right into your web browser so they are easy to open, and you can cut and paste the information right into the website. Mine even autofills information into websites with one click.
Do the research and get a good one that fits your needs. We don’t pretend to be techies, but there is plenty of advice out there on the web. I would trust any of the tech reporters at the major US newspapers, and CNET, and PCMag.com. I am sure there are other places you can get reliable tech info. These are just the ones I know.
If you want a shortcut, I can at least recommend Dashlane and Lastpass. They were both well reviewed by the Wall Street Journal in 2017. Based on their recommendation, I personally switched to Dashlane and now I don’t know how I could live without it. It is on my phone, and my laptop, and hooks into my browser. I have to remember one password from now on. Dashlane has the rest of them, and their security is top notch (at least as of this writing).
Tip 3 – Where is your social security card?
Do NOT carry your social security card in your wallet. This is probably the cardinal sin of wallet carriers. People do it all the time, and it’s crazy.
You don’t need your social security card on a daily basis. Why is it in your wallet? It should be locked up somewhere safe.
Your SSN card is the holy grail of identity thieves. If they have this card, they can wreak havoc on your life. And the federal government makes it hard on you to get a new one. Keep this safe at home instead.
We hope you never have to deal with a lost or stolen wallet. But if you do, we hope these preventative tips make your life a lot easier.