Lost Wallet Travel Alert

by Brandi Savitt – November 22, 2013


Losing Your Wallet Out of State

At 6am – day four of my two week long business trip to Los Angeles -  my wallet was nowhere to be found.  Credit cards, cash, debit card – gone – and the worst of it, so was my license and only picture ID.  Every logistical nightmare raced through my mind – I’d have to borrow money, cancel all my cards, and have a new card hopefully sent overnight. But my license was the BIGGY! Would I have to return my rental car? How would I get to all of my meetings with no car in LA?  And how would I be able to get on the plane back home!

I was staying at Steph’s, and I combed every inch of that house for my mustard yellow wallet. I looked in my rental car (even though I did not drive it the night before).  I even called the restaurant where we had dinner, hoping it had fallen out of my bag.  No luck.  After over an hour of serious scouring and problem solving every ‘what if’, I found it laying on a pile of leaves in the in the gutter next to where Steph had parked on the street the night before.  Phew – bullet dodged!

While I caught a serious break, I also realized losing your wallet out of state may actually be trickier than losing it while traveling abroad.  U.S. Embassies are set up to help Americans traveling abroad with problems like this, but you’re kind of on your own when you’re out of state. And while canceling cards may be easier than if you’re out of country, the ID situation can be quite complicated and serious.

In case of a lost wallet, here’s what you need to do:

Cancel Your Cards

Whether your wallet gets stolen a block from your house, or you lose it traveling in New Orleans or Thailand, the second you realize it’s missing, notify your credit card company and bank to cancel you ALL of your credit and debit cards.  The easiest way to do this is to get organized NOW and photocopy everything you would need to replace if you lost your wallet.  Keep it easily accessible in your home files.  And if you know you are going on a trip, bring a copy of important cards and documentation (including your license) with you.  Just be sure to keep it in a safe place – like the hotel safe or a locked compartment of your luggage. – Definitely don’t keep it in your wallet or purse!

File a Police Report

If your wallet is lost while traveling domestically or aboard, it is a good idea to go to the local police station and file a police report. While it is unlikely that the fuzz is going to recover your belongings, an official police report will help to prove any fraudulent charges or withdraws on any of your accounts were not made by you.  And most importantly, it will make it MUCH EASIER to get replacement identification, or fly without a picture ID if you have to.

Go to the Bank

If you are traveling and there is a branch of your bank in town, go there in person and let them know what happened.  If you can show proof of who you are and a police report, they may be able to order replacement cards faster.  They will also be more likely to give you access to your funds while monitoring any fraudulent activity on your account.

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