Home > 2011 > Identity Theft

What To Do If Your Wallet is Stolen

Advertiser Disclosure Comments 0 Comments

You should always:

police badge iconFile a Local Police Report
Include a list of everything that was in your wallet, and make sure you get a copy of the report. This will be useful in resolving any related fraud.

siren iconPlace a Fraud Alert with Credit Bureaus
Experian, Equifax and TransUnion offer consumers the opportunity to place 90-day fraud alerts on their credit files. These signal creditors to verify a person’s identity before authorizing a new credit account in his or her name. If you place a fraud alert with one credit bureau, it will automatically be shared with the other two.

phone iconContact numbers
Equifax (800) 525-6285 | Experian (888) 397-3742 | Trans Union: (800) 680-7289

credit report iconGet your free Credit Report
If you’re not doing so already, get a free credit report every four months from one of the three credit bureaus. To obtain your credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com.


Click to see what to do if your wallet contains…


passport credit cards social security card driver's license checks green card insurance cards membership cards

credit card icon

Credit and/or Debit Cards:

Cancel all cards immediately. The sooner you do this, the better. While Visa and MasterCard offer zero-liability policies (with some stipulations) for unauthorized debit and credit card transactions, federal law allows debit card liability up to $500 if you inform your bank of a theft within two days; wait more than 60 days and you could potentially face unlimited liability. For credit cards, a maximum liability of $50 is possible if you incur charges before reporting the card missing.

Tip: Keep a list of relevant bank and credit card phone numbers to quickly contact them if you need.

Tip: Limit the number of cards you keep in your wallet. Only carry what you need to use.

Back to top top arrow icon

social security card icon

Your Social Security Number:

Consider a Credit Freeze. A credit freeze offers stronger protection against new account fraud than a fraud alert. It prohibits creditors from accessing your credit reports or score, effectively thwarting most (but not all) attempts to open new credit in your name. Keep in mind, a freeze will prevent you from being able to obtain instant credit, and it remains in effect until you choose to “thaw” your credit file.

Contact numbers
Equifax (800) 525-6285 | Experian (888) 397-3742 | Trans Union: (800) 680-7289

Tip: Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet.

Tip: Don’t carry your Medicare card in your wallet unless you are going to a medical appointment.

Back to top top arrow icon

checks icon


Contact your bank immediately. Close your checking
account, any connected accounts, and request a stop payment on all
stolen check numbers. Open a new account with a new number. Once you
contact your bank directly, state your case and requests in writing.
Check fraud can be especially complicated.

Related Article: Time for a CARD Act for Checking Accounts?

Back to top top arrow icon

driver's license icon

Your Driver’s License:

File a Local Police Report. In many states, a police report must be filed when a license is lost or stolen. Some states offer fraud alerts that can be placed on driver’s licenses. In cases where law enforcement pulls over somebody trying to pass as you, the officers will require additional forms of identification.

Back to top top arrow icon

green card icon

Your Green Card:

Contact USCIS. If you’ve lost
your green card outside of the U.S., first contact the nearest U.S.
consulate, USCIS office, or port of entry.

Back to top top arrow icon

passport icon


Notify U.S. State Department. Contact the State Department immediately at 1-877-487-2778. If your passport was issued outside of the United States, notify the issuing country’s embassy.

Back to top top arrow icon

insurance cards icon

Health Insurance Card or Auto Insurance:

Contact your insurance carriers. Ask for a replacement policy number.
This can protect you against unauthorized claims being filed on your
account. the issuing country’s embassy.

Back to top top arrow icon

membership cards icon

Library, Video Store, and Other Membership Cards:

Contact the issuer. Ask for a replacement policy number. Consider a new password, where applicable.

Back to top top arrow icon

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team