Lost wallet! Now what?!?!?!?

Missing or lost wallet

Don’t Panic! A lost wallet is not the end of the world… well it can be unless you move quickly.

Fight or Flight

After that first pocket check and the realization sets in that stuff is missing your adrenaline kicks into high gear. This is fight or flight time, which can lead to some pretty bad decisions. First things first is to breathe and survey your surroundings. Piece together the context of the loss to determine what to do next. 

Did you just put it down somewhere? You give it to a friend? Was it in a backpack that now has a giant whole in it, clearly from being slashed open? All good questions, some more relevant than others.

Next step: Look…

Looking is an important and commonly avoided step (why??!?!?). It’s shocking the amount of stuff that gets turned into Lost & Found that people just never go looking for it.

First start by surveying the area and get a sense for where it might of gone. Retrace your steps or check in at the places you think it might of gone missing. If there is no luck there you need to move on to some organizational help. Next stop Lost & Found.

(Note: If you’re the finder of an item. TURN IT IN!!! So many people don’t get there stuff back or it takes forever because a “good samaritan” attempts to find them on facebook or other terrible methods. Hand it over to the organization since that’s where the people go looking anyways.)


Tons of wallets show up in Lost & Found
Stuff commonly collects in Lost & Found

Lost & Found

We of course are a little biased here, but Lost & Found might be the most important step ever. This is the universal meeting point for stuff that goes missing and stuff that gets found.

You may say, “Ya, but I heard from a friend of a friend’s Uncle’s Neighbors’ Ex-Wife that when her thing went missing it was found {{insert place}} and not at Lost & Found.” 

Of course, there are going to being outside cases. Stuff gets found, turned in, and brought everywhere, half the reason why it is a tricky problem, but Lost & Found is where stuff commonly collects. Liff of course is working on solving the rest of it, but for now L&F is the place to be.

If they have an amazing system, cough cough the Liff App, then they will be able to look up your item crazy fast or you could even do it yourself through an online portal or app (check out the one for the Lost Lands or Firefly Music Festival).

Leave your information

If it’s there you win! Moving on.

If its not, now you need to take some action. Leaving information about what is missing and  who you are (very important) significantly increases the chances of seeing a reunion with your missing items. However, the form in which you leave this info is as important as the info itself. Written notes don’t work!

(Note: Yeah yeah yeah we know. A written note worked that one time. We are talking statistical significance here.)

Now the Liff App has some wonderful reporting features that allow you search for you item in real time, put in your information in the form of an Item Alert, and even register items before they go missing for a seamless return (soon with new Property Tags).


Software is pretty cool...

Reduce Short Term Risk

When a wallet is missing, even temporarily you need to think about some of the potential risks you may be exposed to. The immediate and most common risk being credit & debit card fraud. Reporting, freezing, or canceling your cards can bring this loss to zero.

(Author Rant: Don’t purchase stuff with Debit Cards. That’s crazy. You are liable for the entire balance. So if someone snakes your card, number, or commits fraud you are pretty much screwed.) 

Address Immediate Challenges

One of the first things, I’m sure you’ve noticed, when a wallet goes missing is you can’t pay for things anymore. Not only a bummer, but can become a real issue for getting home. When all forms of payment (and identification) go missing you may need to get a little creative to get by. 

Virtual payment can be a great option. Tools like Android and Apple Pay can make payments astoundingly simple (and secure), but do need a little setup beforehand. Depending on your device check out the set up options below:

Borrowing is also a great alternative as well. Instead of the honor system to pay them back. You can always just Venmo your friend (or gullible stranger who may become a future friend) directly and get cash from them in exchange.

Wallet with the contents showing, specifically a Starbucks card
There's a special circle of hell for people who steal coffee...

Long Term Challenges if it doesn’t arrive.

Don’t panic! Emotion is not helpful here. This will be a little bit of work so a calm and collected approach will be best. You now need to start preventing long term risk and the replacement process. 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
    • Personal
    • Other people (parents, friends, so on)
  • Medical Insurance Card
  • Gift Cards
  • Social Security Card (DON”T! WHY??!?!?)
  • Business Cards
  • Transit or Commuter Cards
  • Membership or savings cards
  • Cash

Some of these are more immediately important than others (seriously stop carrying around social security cards. That’s just crazy). Once you’ve outlined the contents of the missing items you will need to start reducing your risk and replacing the content. 

Most Risky– Identity theft

If you lost an ID or Social Security card then Identity theft is by far your largest risk. 

Fun FactConsumers lost 16 Billions Dollars in 2016 due to Identity Fraud.

Best bet for Social Security Cards is to simply not carry it. You rarely need it so please keep it safe with other important and rarely used documents (College degree… am I right folks?). But when it or an ID goes missing place a fraud alert with the three major Credit Bureaus: 

 Finally, to replace your missing social security card just head to the Social Security Administration Website and follow the replacement steps.  

Interested in hearing more or want to chat with the Liff Happens Crew? Drop your info below: