WHAT TO DO IF YOU LOSE YOUR PURSE OR WALLET...
or if you don't lose your purse or wallet, and
SOMEONE'S ILLEGALLY USING YOUR ACCOUNTS OR IDENTIFICATION
Horror stories abound about fraud that can be committed using your name, address, social security number (SS#), credit cards, and so on after the loss or theft of a purse or wallet. You may also experience the misuse of your accounts through mail theft or theft of your ID in another way (stolen carbon slips, or from the Internet, for instance).
Nationwide, an estimated 500,000 to 700,000 people become victims of ID theft each year. An average victim spends $808 to clear up discrepancies related to the theft, and spends an average of 175 hours over 23 months to get things straight!
As a first step in preventing unnecessary hassle, lay out all the cards you carry on a photocopier and make a copy. Then turn your cards over and make another copy. Keep these copies at home so if the cards are ever lost or stolen, you will know exactly what was in your wallet, and you will have instant access to contact numbers for notifying the appropriate agencies.
If you or someone you know are a victim of a theft or you lose cards, checks or other ID, here is some critical information to limit the damage:
Report the loss or crime immediately to the police.
Wherever you are when you discover your property or information missing or abused. The police will take a report (make note of the case number) to be referenced if further abuse occurs in other locations, or in the investigation of the crime. It may help prove to credit providers that you were diligent. (You may eventually be required to fill out fraud affidavits with banks and credit issuers to prove your innocence.) Remember, you are the victim of the theft or loss, the business is the victim of the fraud or forgery.
Call all your credit card issuers.
Get replacement cards with new account numbers. Ask that the old accounts be processed as "Account closed at consumer’s request."
Notify your bank(s) of the loss/theft.
Cancel your accounts and obtain new account numbers.
If you have had checks stolen or bank accounts set up fraudulently.
Report that to TeleCheck and the three credit agencies.
If you use an ATM card for banking services, get a new card, account number and password.
Call the fraud units of the three credit reporting companies.
Report the theft of your credit cards or numbers. Ask that your accounts be flagged. Also, add a victim’s statement to your request (e.g., "My ID has been used to apply for credit fraudulently. Contact me at 123-456-7891 to verify all applications.")
Report fraud 1-800-525-6285
Order copy of report PO Box 740241, Atlanta GA 30374; or call 1-800-685-1111
Report fraud 1-888-397-3742
Order copy of report Experian Consumer Fraud Assistance;
PO Box 1017, Allen TX 75013-0949
TRANS UNION www.tuc.com
Report fraud 1-800-680-7289
Order copy of report PO Box 390, Springfield PA 19064; or call 1-800-916-8800
If your credit card is used fraudulently on the Internet, follow the same guidelines you would for any credit card theft.
If fraudulent charges appear on your account, call the Consumer Credit Counseling Service at 1-800-388-2227 for help in clearing false claims from your credit report.
If your social security number was used fraudulently, report the problem to the Social Security Administration’s Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271. Your SS card can be replaced by calling 1-800-772-1213 or visiting your local SS office. To get a replacement card, you usually need one identifying document, such as a driver’s license or passport. Your replacement card will have the same number as your old card.
If you suspect mail theft, notify your local Post Office. In Edmonds call: 425-672-3051.
If your driver’s license is lost or stolen, you will be able to get a duplicate from your local Dept. of Licensing (180th and Hwy. 99, Lynnwood, WA, 425-672-3406). You need to present proper photo ID before a replacement license can be issued (an expired license or other photo ID). If you do not have photo ID, and the Department can verify your identity with your record, you will be issued a temporary non-photo license and the photo license will be sent through Olympia Headquarters for photo verification before being mailed to you.