Sunday, July 17, 2011

Stuff Happens

Kathyb asked me to share what I did when disaster struck and I lost my wallet and had an unknown person attempt to use the credit cards AND my identification.   When our identity is in question the fight or flight response sets in.  Let me tell you--you fight or you lose!  I spent an hour or so crying, a half hour ranting and raving and then grabbed pen, paper and phone to start the calling process, all while on vacation.

1.  I made a list of everything in the wallet.  I say wallet but mine was actually a Coach clutch outfitted with slots for credit cards  and identification and plenty of room for other things (I even carried dog biscuits in it).  Because it was larger It contained most of my life--driver's license, Social Security card, insurance cards, credit cards, incidental cards like Costco and Sam's Club (important stuff), money, and normally my phone and checkbook.  When I got out of the RV with the clutch, DS#3 was using my phone because his was charging and DH had the checkbook in his shirt pocket--small miracles!!

2.  I prioritized the list and immediately started calling to report the credit cards missing.  Fortunately, for travel purposes, I had listed the numbers for the CC companies in my phone contacts and didn't have to search for them.  It was then that I discovered that in less than 4 hours someone had tried to use one of my credit cards.  The charge was refused because the ID didn't match (attempt to use card by unauthorized user).  How many times have you used your credit card lately and they didn't ask to see additional identification?  God bless the sales clerk who asked to see identification!!

3.  Social Security and driver's license are a given.  I reported them stolen and had them replaced online.  You can go into DMV and the SSA offices but most states allow you to do this online.  

4.  Finally, I can't find the words to tell you how important it is that you find a service that will protect your identity.  There are many!  One that I have had experience with in the past, when a family member had her purse snatched, is LifeLock.  Others are ProtectMyID and Identity Guard.  Our bank has their own service which works the same and tracks both credit charges and check purchases as well as credit inquiries and any use of my identification for financial purposes.  Whatever the cost it is worth it!!  At least for a year or two.

I'm sure I left out a dozen things because the whole process seemed to take up the whole vacation.  Calling insurance companies and everyday people like Costco, Sam's, Staples, Exxon, pharmacies etc. is enough to keep you busy for a week--or more.  We are still remembering things I had in that wallet.  It is a scary time!  Something I never want to have happen again!! 
I have a new wallet/clutch.  See that wrist strap?  I'm hanging on to that puppy!!  Through it all I can honestly is good.


kathy b said...


Thank you. Sorry you suffered, to make me the wiser..>I am going to call my bank right now and figure out the protection they offer. THANKS>>>>>>Im going to copy all my card numbers down this afternoon too.

Katherine said...

Hi Kathy,
I hope everyone will at least think about the "what if" of this happening! Having those card numbers at my fingertips was a blessing. Also, I am an Identity Protection convert--a true believer!!

SusanB-knits said...

Great tips. I never thought to put the phone numbers of my credit cards in my phone. I'd have a time looking them up! not to mention having to wait until I got home to do it. (which by then might be too late to prevent anything from happening)

Katherine said...

Thanks Susan! Those numbers were a real help, and you can imagine how the floor dropped out when they told me someone had tried to use one of the cards. It is truly a case of "If anything can happen it will."