Since I’ve recently written about dealing with found money, I thought I’d go ahead and share some thoughts about what to do if you find yourself on the other side of the situation, having lost your wallet.
1. Try to remember when you last had your wallet. This really goes without saying, but if you can remember specific points during the day when you definitely had your wallet, you should be able to narrow down the list of places where you might have lost it.
2. Check your clothes. Try to remember what you were wearing when you last remember having your wallet, and check your pockets. This goes for outerwear, too. Perhaps you slipped it into a jacket pocket when you normally wear it in your pants?
3. Check your car – or anywhere else you sit for length periods of time. I can’t count the number of times my wallet has fallen out during a long car ride, especially if I’m wearing pants with loose pockets. The same goes for finding my wallet on the floor behind my chair at work. Also be sure to double check when you get up to leave from the theater.
4. Enlist the help of those around you. Ask any friends or family that might be around if they’ve seen your wallet. Also consider asking them to help you look for it. You never know… A fresh (and unbiased) set of eyes might just spot it in a place where you’re sure it couldn’t be.
5. Call around and ask. Generate a list of places you’ve been since you last remember having your wallet and start dialing. Call restaurants, theaters, stores, etc. and ask if anyone has turned in a lost wallet. You might also consider checking with the police to see if anyone has turned in a wallet with a matching description.
6. Return to the scene of the crime. If you’ve been able to narrow down where you might’ve lost it, go back and have a look around. Phone calls are great, but it’s also possible that someone found it and posted a sign looking for the rightful owner.
7. Post signs of your own… And offer a reward. While you’re re-visiting spots where you might have lost it, consider posting signs of your own. You might also consider offering a reward. Let’s face it. People are lazy (and not always honest). The easiest course of action is to pocket the money in your wallet and then toss it in the trash. Offering them a bit of cash might be enough to prompt them to do the right thing and get in touch with you.
8. Go dumpster diving. If you’re hell bent on finding your wallet, you might also consider checking in dumpsters and trash cans in and around areas where you think you lost it. There’s a chance that someone picked it up, pocketed the cash, and then tossed it in the trash. Finding it, even sans cash, would be a huge time (and worry) saver. The odds are against you, but it couldn’t hurt to try.
If it still hasn’t turned up at this point, then you’ll want to proceed with damage control…
9. Start calling banks and credit card issuers. This is especially important for debit cards, which have less in the way of fraud protection and limited financial liability. But even with credit cards, it’s important to notify the issuer and get the old card numbers cancelled and have new cards issued as soon as possible. If you’re in the habit of carrying bank account numbers with you, you’ll also want to talk to the bank about that.
10. Take steps to protect your identity. Hopefully you were smart enough to leave things like your social security card at home, but… Even still, there’s a risk that you might become the victim of identity theft. Once you’ve notified your banks, you should also consider placing a security alert on your credit report. This warns potential creditors to take extra steps to insure the identity of the application when handling application with your name on it. If you suspect your wallet was stolen, you should also consider notifying the police and filing a report.
So there you have it… A set of quick tips for dealing with a lost wallet. Please feel free to chime in and leave a comment suggesting ideas of your own.