With vacation season in full swing, it’s easier than ever to lose track of a wallet in a winding airport security line, or on a crowded, sunbaked beach. Rather than spiraling into a panic about your wallet taking a vacation of its own, here are some steps to take right away.
Report the loss immediately. If your wallet contains a credit, debit, or ATM card, contact your card issuer right away to let them know what happened. Many companies have 24-hour, toll-free numbers to call in these situations.
Acting fast limits your liability for charges you didn’t authorize if your card is lost or stolen. Your protection against unauthorized charges depends on the type of card — and when you report the loss. Learn more about how to limit your losses.
Double-check your card statement. If you see charges or withdrawals on your statement that you don’t recognize, report them to your card issuer immediately.
Follow up. Send a letter to your card issuer to confirm that you reported the problem, and request a return receipt for your records. Include your account number, and two important points: the date and time you realized your card was missing, and when you reported it to them.
Check your insurance policies. Some homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies may cover your potential losses from a stolen credit, debit or ATM card. If you learn that this is not the case, check to see if you can change your policy to include this type of coverage.
Protect your cards in the future. Carry the minimum — only the cards you absolutely need — and don’t bring along any sources of sensitive information, like PINs and Social Security cards. Keep a copy of the phone numbers of each of your card issuers so you can report a loss right away.