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I lost my wallet. What now?

Losing a wallet is a terrifying experience, especially if you don't know what to do afterwards. Here's what I did within the first 10 minutes and following.

August 30, 2019

Written by Christine Sharma

Key takeaways

  • You'll want to report any lost cards right away, whether they're credit cards or identification cards. 

  • It's important to be aware of what's in your wallet. Make a list of everything it contained. 

  • Immediately contact Canada's two consumer credit reporting agencies, Equifax and TransUnion, and place a fraud alert on your account.

I lost my wallet. What now?

I lost my wallet for the first time in my life on a rainy day last April. It was a horrifying moment when I realized it was lost. Would someone return it? Would someone spend my cash? Would someone tap my cards? Was I going to lose all my money? What about my identification, my driver's licence, my health card?

We carry our lives in our wallets 

If one thing is true, it's that our wallets carry important parts of our lives. Our cash and cards have a home in our wallets, and we need them for day-to-day spending and identification.

Thankfully, nothing terrible happened when I lost my wallet. No one stole my identity and no one tapped my debit or credit cards.

But losing my wallet was frightening. It was on my lunch break. I visited a cafe and picked up a meal. When I got back to my desk, I realized it was missing and ran outside to look for it, frantically. I checked the sidewalks, the streets, the cafe I'd visited and even all of the shops along the street. Anyone can lose their wallet, but we don't always know what to do when it happens.

What I did within the first 10 minutes 

Immediately I looked everywhere I could think of for my wallet.

Within 10 minutes of losing my wallet, I visited my bank. I went to the teller and told her that I'd lost my wallet and needed to cancel my debit and credit cards and receive new ones.

The teller checked my account and verified my last purchase: the meal I'd bought at the cafe. She was able to cancel my cards on the spot, provide me with a temporary ATM card and order a new credit card with a new number.

What I did within the first hour 

Within an hour of losing my wallet, I made a list of everything that had been in there. All of my points and loyalty cards, my credit and debit cards, my bus pass, $20 in cash, my driver's licence and my health card. I crossed out the items I was already working to replace, or couldn't replace, like my credit and debit cards, and my cash.

What I did next 

Within 24 hours of losing my wallet, I visited Service Ontario to replace my driver's licence and health card. I received temporary ones.

Within the week, I ordered a new bus pass, and new points and loyalty cards.

That weekend, I purchased a new wallet.

For the next two weeks, I monitored my accounts online to ensure that I recognized all of my transactions.

Within the month, I received my new credit and debit cards, a new driver's licence and a new health card. 

I'm glad I acted fast 

I never got my wallet back, but I'm glad I took the necessary steps to protect my identity and prevent identity theft. You'll want to report any lost cards right away, whether they'recredit cards or identification cards.

It's important to be aware of what's in your wallet, and if you ever lose yours, immediately contact Canada's two consumer credit reporting agencies, Equifax and TransUnion, and place a fraud alert on your account.

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