When you realize your wallet or purse is missing, it can be difficult to figure out what to do next. Here are some steps to take to prevent any long-term damage to your accounts and credit reports.

Within 24 Hours…

Close Your Credit and Debit Cards
Call SMCU and your other credit card companies as soon as you realize your cards are missing, especially if you suspect they were lost in a public place or stolen. While it might be tempting to wait a few days before calling, just in case the wallet turns up, it’s a temptation you should probably avoid. The longer you wait to report the card missing, the more time a potential thief has to rack up charges on your account. This is especially true for debit cards, which may not always have the same fraud liability policies that credit cards do. Shutting down the cards may be inconvenient, but it will protect you in the long run.

Place Stop Payments on Your Checks
If you carried blank checks in your wallet, call SMCU to put stops on those check numbers. Again, time is of the essence. Since many merchants are now able to clear checks electronically, it doesn’t take long for someone to use them to steal your money.

If you have a checking account and VISA® with Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union, you can make one call during business hours to our Contact Center to report any loss. A helpful representative can cancel your SMCU VISA®, SMCU Debit or ATM card and place stop payments on any missing checks. Check here for all SMCU contact information, including after-hours reporting numbers.

Report Your Driver’s License Missing
Call the Department of Licensing to report the license missing. They will guide you through the steps of getting it replaced and can flag the existing license record, just in case someone tries to use it.

File a Police Report
Call your police department’s non-emergency line to fill out a report. You may need the report to dispute fraudulent transactions to your bank or credit card accounts. The Seattle Police Department Non-Emergency phone number is listed below.

Contact the Credit Bureaus
Call all three national credit reporting agencies to put a credit warning on your credit report. If someone tries to apply for credit in your name, the warning will help to slow them down or even prevent them from opening new accounts. Contact information for all three bureaus is listed below.

After 24 Hours…

Update Recurring Payments to Debit or Credit Cards.
Once you have a new credit card or debit card number, you will need to contact any companies that you have set up to automatically charge your card for monthly bills and tell them the new card information.

Monitor Your Statements and Credit Reports.
Get in the habit of taking a few minutes to read through your checking account and credit card statements as soon as you get them. This is a good idea at any time, but especially after you’ve had any personal information go missing. If you notice anything that shouldn’t be there, call the issuing institution immediately.

At least once a year, you should also review your credit report. Each of the three major credit bureaus will give you one free copy every twelve months. You’ll be able to see if anyone is using your credit without authorization and if reporting companies have made any mistakes. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com for more details. This site is sponsored by the credit bureaus and requires no subscription to receive the reports.

Preventative Steps

Don’t keep SSNs, PINs, or passwords in your wallet
Keep this information in a secure place, separate from your driver’s license, credit cards and debit cards. This makes it more difficult for someone to access your accounts or open credit in your name.

Keep a record of your accounts
Keep a list of all of your accounts in a secure place with contact numbers for the issuing companies. This list will come in handy if you do lose your wallet or purse and need to quickly shut the cards down.

Keep an emergency credit card
You may want to keep a separate credit card somewhere other than your wallet or purse. When you report your credit cards lost, the credit card company will likely shut down all of the cards associated with the account. You can use the emergency account while the other cards are being reissued.

Not having your wallet or purse can be an anxious time. Knowing what to do can make it easier.

More information
Federal Trade Commission: What To Do If Your Personal Information Has Been Compromised

Credit Bureau Contact Information
Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
Experian: 1-800-493-1058
TransUnion: 1-800-916-8800

Seattle Police Department Non-Emergency Phone Number: 206-625-5011