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You've lost your wallet. Now what?

Friday - 2/25/2011, 12:18pm  ET

Wallet375.jpg
Losing your wallet can be a stressful experience. (WTOP Photo/Meera Pal)

WASHINGTON - Losing your wallet or purse can be a stressful experience. But, you can make it a little less stressful by following a few tips.

To prevent falling victim to identity theft, cancel your credit cards and contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles and request a new copy.

If your wallet was stolen, file a policy report so there is an official record, recommends the Federal Citizen Information Center.

Next, alert the three major credit report companies, and ask your company's human resources department to replace your health insurance card.

Eight Things to Do After Losing Your Wallet:

  1. Make a list of what you had in your wallet and tackle the important things first.

  2. Immediately cancel all your credit and debit cards, letting your bank know that your wallet was lost or stolen. Request new copies of the card with a new account number.

  3. If you were the victim of theft, file a police report so there is an official record.

  4. Report a missing driver's license to your state's department of motor vehicles and request a new copy.

  5. Alert the fraud departments of the three major credit reporting companies. They will place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number, and you can request that they alert you before opening a line of credit in your name. (Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742; Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289)

  6. Request a replacement Social Security card and consider not carrying it in your wallet in the future.

  7. Contact either your company's HR department or your health insurance provider directly to get a replacement insurance card. If you've lost a Medicare card, contact the Social Security Administration to get a replacement.

  8. For other club membership, video rental and bonus club cards, you'll have to contact each company individually. Use the directory at Consumer Action to get a direct line to consumer affairs or member relations departments.
WTOP's Kristi King contributed to this report. Follow Kristi and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)