ITRC Fact Sheet 104
My Wallet, Purse or PDA was Lost or Stolen - Now what?

This guide covers the following:

While a lost or stolen wallet or PDA may simply mean the loss of your cash and credit cards, it may also be the beginning of an identity theft case. Hope for the best while taking steps to reduce your risk of identity theft. The return of the item does not guarantee that cards were not copied, so you need to proceed as if the items were stolen.
This guide will serve as a starting point of what to do and whom to call. If the situation evolves into identity theft, please refer to our other self-help guides or contact our office toll-free at 888-400-5530.

What was in your wallet and/or purse?

The following is a list of items that may be in your wallet or purse that can lead to identity theft or other forms of fraud if stolen.

What other information was on your cell phone, tablet, or laptop?

Steps to take immediately:

1. Police report: Report the crime/loss to your local law enforcement agency. Give them a list of the items it contained (see above). Request a copy of the report as you might need it later. ITRC also recommends getting the business card or name of the officer who took the report, the report number and a phone number to call if you have additional questions.

2. Credit or Fraud Alerts: Contact the three major credit reporting agencies (CRAs) by telephone, listed below. Use the “Report Fraud” numbers for each CRA (refer to ITRC Solution 3). You will reach an automated system that allows you to provide your phone number. We highly recommend you include a home or cell phone number. See ITRC Fact Sheet 100Financial Identity Theft – the Beginning Steps and ITRC Fact Sheet 124 for information on placing fraud alerts.

- Equifax (800) 525-6285
- Experian (888) 397-3742
- Trans Union: (800) 680-7289
Ask for a fraud alert and your free report as a potential victim of identity theft. The CRAs are required to provide you with a complimentary credit report when you place a fraud alert. This report gives you the opportunity to check for any pending credit applications and to verify that all the current information is correct. It becomes an accurate baseline for the fraud alert and may alert you to suspicious activity.
In 2 to 3 months you should begin to use the federal annual credit report system, (for more information, see ITRC Fact Sheet 125.) If there are problems, please refer to our ITRC Fact Sheet 100 for guidance. If your SSN is being used, you may want to consider a “credit freeze” explained in ITRC Fact Sheet 124.

3. Driver’s License or State ID: If your Driver’s license or vehicle registration was taken, contact the state agency that issues driver’s licenses. Place a stolen/lost card warning on your file. At this time, request a replacement. If you discover that a thief is using your license, you can request a license number change. If your vehicle registration papers are missing, notify your state agency of this as well.
4. Credit Cards and Account Documents: If you are missing credit cards or copies of bills, contact the card issuers that issued the stolen/lost card(s). Request replacement cards with new account numbers. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires credit grantors to furnish copies of any fraudulent transactions for that account. Monitor your mail for collection notices, missing statements or bills. Check bills for evidence of new fraudulent activity and report any problems immediately to credit grantors.  If a problem is discovered, please refer to ITRC Fact Sheet 100.

5. Checks and Checking Account Information If you have lost checking account numbers, savings account numbers, checks, ATM cards, or debit cards, contact the bank immediately and close the account. Open a new account with a new number. Add a password on the account. It sometimes helps to go directly to the local branch and speak face-to-face with a bank manager or fraud investigator. Do not waste time explaining your case to a teller.  Please refer to ITRC Fact Sheet 126 for additional information on checking account takeover and check fraud.

To report fraudulent use of your checks:

Several of these companies do provide a “consumer report.” Order reports from those that do provide them.  They should be free.

Security Alert: ChexSystems and SCAN will let you place a 90-day Security Alert on your consumer report with them.

Phone: 800-513-7125
Or: 888-4-STOLEN

6. Military ID cards: Notify the personnel support detachment (PSD) and your immediate chain of command up to the commanding officer. Apply for a new ID card. In the event that a dependent’s ID card is involved, notify your immediate supervisor, the PSD, and secure a replacement.

7. Green Card or immigration papers: Contact the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), as well as your country’s embassy.

8. Passports: In the case of a lost or stolen passport, it is important to notify the U.S. Department of State immediately and fill out Form DS-64. In the event the passport was issued by another country, notify the issuing country’s embassy. For more information visit

9. Workplace theft: If your wallet or PDA was lost or stolen at work, notify both the HR and Security Departments. You might recommend a notice be posted warning other personnel to take additional security precautions. For example, women should not be storing wallets or purses in unlocked, desk drawers.

10. Stolen Social Security Card

Do this every year at the end of January for everybody whose card was stolen:

If you are requesting the information on a minor child or a dependent adult please read Solution 27

Refer to ITRC Fact Sheet 100A for further information on more complex cases.

To report Social Security fraud: call (800) 269‑0271 or E-mail:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Refer also to the Social Security Administration’s website:

11: Stolen Smart Phone:

Call your service provider and have them cancel your service and report your phone missing. Treat the loss of your smartphone as you would the loss of a wallet or purse.  

12: Birth Certificate

Notify the issuing county recorder’s office of the loss. In the future, do not carry this on your person unless needed that day.

13: Health insurance: Notify the medical insurance carrier immediately. Request a replacement policy number.

14: Auto insurance/AAA: Notify the insurance company immediately. You don’t want someone using your information in the event of an accident. Request a replacement policy number.

Other Items:

Tips for Dealing with the Authorities and Financial Institutions:

Preventative Tips:

This fact sheet should not be used in lieu of legal advice. Any requests to reproduce this material, other than by individual victims for their own use, should be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..