Have you ever had your wallet stolen, lost your purse, or just misplaced a credit card? While I can't make it painless, a few simple steps can make sure that you lessen the chances of long-lasting trouble. Here's what I suggest:
Be prepared: Know the telephone numbers to report your credit cards stolen. Keep them in your cell phone, and keep a hard copy accessible. You might want to keep a copy in your glove box – you usually aren't at home when things are lost or stolen. Don't carry unnecessary credit cards with you, especially when you travel.
Act fast: Don't waste valuable time looking for your things. You can always call the companies back if you find your wallet. Call your creditors as soon as you suspect a possible loss.
If you are married, maintain separate credit card accounts. I explain why here in The Case for Separate Credit Cards.
Consider if you want to put a credit freeze on your credit bureau accounts. Last time my husband's wallet was stolen, we took a long time to decide whether to use a credit freeze. At that time, we decided not to, but it was a hard decision. I'm still trying to learn more so that I know what to do next time.
Here's a short video clip from USAA that talks about stolen wallets: