Losing your purse is actually not as simple as losing it. It’s losing money, credit cards, debit cards, government IDs, important receipts, and many other valuable things. The time it takes to search for your lost purse also affects the steps you should take to keep your credit standing and personally identifiable information safe. Putting all your sensitive information at risk is the worst situation to be panicky. Resist the urge to be anxious. When we panic about losing something, especially something important like a wallet, we lose focus and can easily overlook obvious clues.
Here’s what you should do the moment you find out you lost your purse.
What to Do the Moment You Lost Your Purse
Search the house systematically.
Focus on context. What were you doing? If you were shopping online at work when your boss walked in, there’s a good chance you tucked your purse in your desk drawer. What were you wearing? Check your coat and pants. If you’re at home when you realized it was gone, search your house systematically. Start in one room of the house, and systematically start searching, moving couch cushions and pillows, and looking underneath any objects that could have been unintentionally placed on top of you wallet. Be vigilant, but don’t make a mess. Turning the house upside down is only going to make the process worse. Lastly, check your car.
Call the establishments you visited.
Did you still have it on the way home? If you think you didn’t, you might need to call the recent locations you visited, like malls, restaurants, and bars. Don’t assume a business will call you if they find your wallet. They may be too busy, or they may have a policy not to call for privacy reasons. Waiters and maintenance personnel usually keep them safe in an office.
What to Do After 24 Hours of Losing Your Purse
Check online for any fraudulent charges.
Log in to your bank and credit card accounts online to see if any purchases have been made while the card is missing. If there are charges, then somebody else has your purse. Don’t wait long before you do this. If you wait more than two days and fewer than 60 to report your card missing, you could be responsible for up to $500 in illegal purchases! If you make your report after 60 days? Then you can be held responsible for every illegal purchase made with your card.
Call your debit card issuer.
You have 48 hours to report a missing card before you are liable for any charges, so use the time wisely. Once you have proof that the card is stolen, call your bank immediately. Tell the financial institution that you suspect your debit card has been stolen. Your bank will immediately cancel your debit card and issue you a replacement with a new account number. Your bank will also go over the recently listed purchases with your card to determine the last legal purchase you made before losing your debit card.
Call your checkbook issuer.
If your purse was indeed stolen, the thief may also quickly drain the funds from your checking account when they find your checkbook inside. Call your bank immediately and ask for a freeze on your checking account. This way, thieves won’t be able to make any more purchases using your checkbook. To help solve the problem completely, you’ll have to close your account and open a new one. You will also need to change all your automated payments and direct deposits.
Call your credit card company.
Call all the companies that issued your credit cards to cancel those cards. You are not responsible for any fraudulent purchases on your credit card as long as you report your card stolen before a thief starts using it. If a thief does use your credit card before you report it stolen, you’ll only be responsible for a maximum of $50 of unauthorized purchases.
File a police report.
You might think that a lost purse is the least of a police department’s priorities, but go report its loss anyway. Filing a report creates an official documentary record of the loss and your recovery efforts. This can prove quite valuable for any insurance claims, fraud liability resolution, identity theft problems, or other issues that might arise. Provide as accurate and detailed an account as possible, with specific time frames and locations. Keep a copy of the report for your records.