1. Call the police
If you suspect your wallet was stolen, call the cops. Even though the police might not be able to track down your wallet, putting in a report will cover you in other ways. If a thief does try committing identity fraud, you’ll have to prove that you aren’t responsible for the costs. “Someone is going to lose here, and it’s either the credit card company, the bank or you,” says Robert Siciliano, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com. “If you say you’re a victim, you need to prove it.” That police report could be the proof you need to show you’re telling the truth about false charges.
2. Close your debit and credit cards
Any lost credit or debit accounts should be closed as soon as possible. Start with debit, which can be even more devastating than having a credit card stolen. “The money is coming right out of your bank account, whereas credit is a credit card company’s money,” Siciliano says.
3. Keep an eye on your accounts
Thieves can’t buy with a card once you’ve closed the account, but that doesn’t mean you should be lax about double-checking your spending – a routine you should make habit even if you don’t think you’ve been a victim of fraud. “Closely monitor before and after you lose your wallet,” Siciliano says. Depending on what your bank or credit card offers, you could get an email, text message or app notification alerting you of account activity. If not – or in addition, just to be safe – go through your statements regularly to make sure everything is accurate, he says. Some thieves sell cards based on area code, meaning the credit card company will think charges seem normal and won’t issue a warning, though you’ll recognise the extra costs, Levin says.