What to do when your wallet has been stolen? (besides call your banks and file a police report)

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Topic: What to do when your wallet has been stolen? (besides call your banks and file a police report)

Public Safety February 6, 2012 at 1:53 pm

What to do when your wallet has been stolen? (besides call your banks and file a police report)

Dear PoP readers,
I was out this weekend on H Street and received a phone call from BoA that there was fraudulent activity on my cards. Turns out that someone stole my wallet out of my purse and used all my credit cards. I have contacted all my banks/canceled all my credit cards and filed a police report but now what? Any advice?
BTW, I have to give a shout out to the cops that responded to my call. They were very kind, polite, sotra funny and overall awesome. Thanks first district cops!
Lost in SW

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Did you have any checks in your wallet? If so, you will want to put a hold on your checking account and open another account, since someone will have access to your account and routing numbers. Also, was your SmartCard in your wallet? Starbucks card? If so, deactivate. (I left my wallet on the bus last weekend, so recently went through this – plus side, it was turned it with everything, even my $20!)

The FTC has some good guidance and worksheets at http://www.ftc.gov/idtheft
Had my wallet stolen in September and over $3000 spent in 15 minutes.  Read your credit card agreements regarding fraudulent charges and follow their instructions, and document, document, document.  Although some credit card companies have features where you can report fraudulent activity online or over the phone, I know that for one of my credit cards (looking at you, Capital One), they don’t consider those to be official notices of fraudulent activities and therefore don’t have to investigate or take the amounts off your balance until you submit the fraudulent activity in writing.  I don’t know if it was because of that or unrelated to that policy, but when I first called to report my card stolen, they closed my account but did not mark my account as having fraudulent charges or being stolen.  Fast forward a month and a half later, I get an overdue notice, call them, and learn this.  I had also sent notification in writing shortly after the fraud, but they hadn’t received it or processed it.  With a limited number of days to report fraud, errors like this have the potential to really screw you over, so be vigilent.  Keep an eye on your account statements, and call regularly if something hasn’t been taken off.  Don’t just wait while they investigate before they take it off.
If you want to go really hardcore, you can contact the businesses where your cards were used.  If it’s a big chain, they’ll have a special fraud department, and it’ll streamline things like getting the camera footage of the people who used your cards.

This happened to me in November. It’s a good idea to also contact one of the major credit agencies (TransUnion, Equifax, Experian) to have a fraud alert placed on your account in the event that anyone tries to open a card or account using your information. You only have to contact one of the agencies and they will notify the other two – I think the alert stays active for 90 days.

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