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Personal and Business Banking

If Your Wallet or Purse is Lost or Stolen

Privacy Protection and Fraud Prevention

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If Your Wallet or Purse is Lost or Stolen

Just discovered that your wallet or purse is missing? Don't panic. Here are steps you can take to protect yourself from becoming an identity theft victim.

Make a list of the contents

Which of the following was in it? What else?

  • Credit and charge cards

  • ATM/Debit card

  • Checkbook and/or savings account information

  • Driver's license

  • Social Security Card

  • Video or other Rental Cards

  • Medical Insurance Card

  • Keys – car and house

File a report with the police

Keep a copy of the report. You may need it to show proof of crime.

What to do about the contents

Take the following steps for each item you may have been carrying in your wallet or purse:

Credit Cards
Under federal law your maximum liability for unauthorized use of your credit card is $50. For some cards, like the DCU Visa®, your liability is $0.

  • Report the loss to the card issuers immediately. Many issuers have toll-free numbers and 24-hour service to deal with emergencies.

  • Cancel every card.

  • Request a new card with a new account number.

  • If you have a DCU Visa , you are entitled to overnight card replacement.

Your maximum liability under federal law is determined by how quickly you report the loss. If you report it missing before it's used for any unauthorized transfers, then you can't be held responsible for them. If unauthorized transfers occur before you report it, your liability is determined by how quickly you report the loss.

  • Get a new card with a new account number

  • If your PIN wasn't in the wallet or purse, you probably don't need to change it. If DCU changes your PIN, you won't have access to Online Banking and Easy Touch until your new one arrives the mail.

Checkbook and/or savings account information
Notify your credit union(s) and bank(s). Close checking and savings accounts. Open new ones. Put stop payments on outstanding checks.

Driver's License
Report your driver's license as missing to your state's department of motor vehicles (DMV). Also get a replacement license. The appropriate DMV website can be helpful. You can request a replacement license from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles website. For other states, check out this page from the website.

Social Security Card
Call or visit your local Social Security office to get a replacement card (Look in the white pages under Social Security Administration or US Government). You will not be issued a new SSN if your card was lost or stolen if there is no evidence that your number is being used by someone. For further information about your Social Security Card read Your Number and Card from the Social Security Administration.

Keys – Car and House
Change the locks on your house and your car. Thieves don't need access to more of your stuff.

Medical Insurance Card
Check with your insurance company or, if your insurance is provided through your job, check with your human resources or personnel department.

Video or Other Rental Cards
Unlike credit cards, these cards have no federal liability protection. Notify the appropriate companies. Many of these require notification in writing. If you don't notify them, you may end up liable for changes for videos (or other items) that are rented and never returned.

Credit Reporting Agencies/Bureaus
Call the fraud departments of the major credit reporting agencies. Ask them to put a "fraud alert" on your account and to add a "victim's statement" to your file requesting that creditors contact you before opening new accounts in your name.

Ask for copies of your credit reports. Review the reports very carefully to make sure that no fraudulent accounts have been opened in your name and no unauthorized changes have been made to existing accounts. In a few months get copies of your credit reports again. Review the reports to make sure that the changes you requested previously have been made. Also review the reports to make sure no fraudulent activity has occurred.

How can you be prepared in case it happens?

Make a list of your credit card numbers and contact information & emergency procedures for each.

  • Add to the list any other account numbers and contact information.

  • Keep the list up to date.

  • Keep it in a safe place at home preferably where you will remember you have it.

  • Some people prefer to use a credit card registration service. For a fee, you register all of your cards with the service and then you make one phone call to the service and they notify all of the credit card companies for you. Some will even request replacement cards. Note that this is not the same as credit card protection. Check out the FTC Alert: Credit Card Loss Protection. If you decide to use a registration service, shop around and compare offers. Read the contract very carefully. You aren't required to have a service so don't sign up if you aren't comfortable.

Useful Links is a starting point to find Federal and State information. For example, under Get It Done Online! there is a link for Renew Your Driver's License. This link takes you to a page from which you can choose the appropriate state Motor Vehicle office.