Losing anything is never fun, and a wallet is no different. A wallet or purse holds plenty of important information that you might need and could be harmful in nefarious hands. So when it goes missing, you might be lost yourself on what to do next. We’re here to help.
When a wallet is missing, you need to manage the short-term challenges and the potential risks you may be exposed to, even temporarily. The immediate and most common threat being payment card fraud. Reporting, freezing, or canceling your cards can bring this loss to zero, but be challenging by itself.
Address Immediate Challenges
One of the first things you’ll encounter when a wallet goes missing, no payment tools. No cash or payment cards can become a real issue in short-term survival and long-term getting home.
Virtual payment can be a great alternative. Tools like Google and Apple Pay can make payments astoundingly simple (and secure). Apple can even issue their virtual credit card instantly if you’re eligible.
Borrowing is an option. Instead of the honor system to pay them back, Venmo your friend (or gullible stranger who may become a future friend) directly and in exchange for cash to get you through the day.
Getting on a flight
Flights are a common challenge for individuals when their identification goes missing.
Domestic flights- you can get on a domestic flight without an ID but it takes some effort. Corporate Travel Safety wrote a good article breaking that process down.
International flights- lost passports are a whole different set of problems. Contact your embassy or state department to report the missing item and required steps for replacement or a temporary issuance.
Long Term Challenges
Unfortunately, not every lost item finds its way to the lost and found and back to the owner. Once you’re home and safe, it is time to prevent longer-term harm.
Start by listing an inventory of what was in the missing wallet. Contents typically include:
- Drivers license or ID (school IDs too)
- Credit and Debit Cards
- Business Cards
- Other people (parents, friends, so on)
- Medical Insurance Card
- Gift Cards
- Social Security Card
- Business Cards
- Transit or Commuter Cards
- Membership or savings cards
Identity theft and payment card fraud are the largest risks at this point. For a missing ID, place a fraud alert with the three major Credit Bureaus:
Replacing a social security card isn’t fun, so in the future please don’t carry it, but head to the Social Security Administration Website and follow the replacement steps.