Lost Wallet? Take These Steps to Repair Your Life and Prevent Identity Theft - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/1/06

Lost Wallet? Take These Steps to Repair Your Life and Prevent Identity Theft

Michelle Owens has lost her wallet and purse so many times that she's become an expert on starting over. Owens says, "The first stage is panic and then you realize that's not going to do you any good and you have to get over the material value. Then say, my purse is gone and my wallet is gone. How do I repair my life?"

It's a process that could take years. Lacie Owen says, "We had left our purses in my friend's car under the dash. We were in the building thirty minutes and when we came out, all the windows had been busted out and our purses were gone." That was in 2002 and Lacie is still trying to repair the damage. Lacie says, "I actually had identity theft as a result. I have to have a police report actually showing a copy of my credit to show the negative things on the statement are not my errors."

If your purse or wallet is stolen, file a police report immediately because you may need it to prove your loss. Next, call your credit card companies of course. The Federal Trade Commission recommends canceling cards and getting new account numbers. Michelle says you can also put a freeze on the account if you've misplaced a card and expect it to turn up. You will also need to stop payment on checks. Next, file a report with the major credit reporting agencies so they can flag your credit report. The companies are as follows:

Report a missing or stolen driver's license with the Department of Public Safety and replace it. If you've lost your keys, change the locks and get new keys.

Now do you know what's in your purse or wallet? Would you know what information you lost if you lost it? Michelle says, "I have a spreadsheet in which I keep lists of everyone's phone number that I might possibly need that could be in my wallet." Michelle recommends keeping an inventory on all items in your wallet or purse. She's also says there's one item you don't want to carry. Michelle says, "Do not carry your social security card." To get a new one, you must prove your identity and that's hard to do if you've lost your driver's license too. Finally, carry only what you need in your purse or wallet. Michelle says, "I quit thinking I need my entire life in my purse, because you really don't."

For more information, call the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-ID-THEFT or ( click here )for more information.

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