I lost my wallet. Are there any steps I should take to protect my identity?
There are several things you should do about a lost wallet right away. Make a list of everything that was in your wallet. Credit cards and debit cards are the priority, but there may be other considerations as well. For a start, you must contact your credit and debit card issuers and inform them of your loss. They will provide replacement cards and check to see if there was any unauthorized usage.
You will also want to replace important identification. If you had your Social Security card in your wallet you can get a new one for free from your local Social Security Administration office. You will need some official form of identification as well as proof of citizenship. They will furnish you with a Social Security Number Certification letter on the spot, and send you a replacement card in two weeks.
Use a Fraud Alert
There are also a couple of credit repair tools you can utilize to protect yourself against identity theft. At a minimum, you should put a fraud alert on your credit reports. This is free and easy to do. A fraud alert is a message that will appear on your credit report requesting prospective lenders to call you prior to extending credit. The fraud alert will remain in place for 90 days and can be renewed if you are still concerned.
Start a Monitoring Service
In addition, you should consider joining a monitoring service, like the one offered by TrueCredit for about 15 dollars per month. The monitoring service will track your credit report and notify you of all activity, including inquiries, so you can head off any fraudulent activity before it happens.
We advise our credit repair customers who have concerns about fraudulent use of their identity to continue to monitor the activity on their reports for at least six months. With any luck your wallet will turn up and your worries will be over. But unless that happens, you are best off staying on the defense.