Losing your wallet can be both intimidating and a potential threat to your CIBIL Score.
Imagine you are on vacation and enjoying a spot of holiday shopping when you reach into your pocket for your wallet and find… nothing. You now have a nightmare unfolding – that of contacting each bank and credit card issuer to have your debit and credit cards blocked or hot listed and reissued. Identification documents such as a driving license, PAN card or aadhar cards also need attention – after all, these are critical documents that can have far-reaching consequences if they fall into the wrong hands.
While all this may seem akin to the end of the world, it is not so. Before you start to panic, let’s see what all are the things you can do to mitigate the damage. The money in your wallet is gone of course, and that is possibly something you can’t replace, but for almost everything else, help is close at hand. Let’s take a look at all the available options – after you have calmed down somewhat, of course!
Is your wallet really lost, stolen or just misplaced? The first step would be to think back to when you last had your wallet. If you were at a mall or store for example, retrace your steps. Did you whip out your wallet to pay for your purchases and leave it at the counter? Would you have dropped it en route? If you’ve been home for a large part of the time, check thoroughly just in case it’s fallen or been dropped in some corner of the house.
However once you have established that it is indeed missing, read on to know what you should do.
Block all cards – Whether debit, credit or charge cards, call up each bank or card issuer and have all your cards blocked. If you do not have their helpline numbers at hand, log on to the website and get them. Once done, sit down calmly and make those all-important calls.
When you call the banks and/ or card issuers, be sure to mention that your wallet has been lost or stolen, as the case may be. If you can provide an approximate time in addition to the date that the incident occurred, it would help the financial institution to let you know whether any transactions have been carried out since. Finally, once you have the cards blocked, be sure to request for replacement cards.
Stop-payment – Whether a cheque or chequebook, do mark a stop payment against these instruments to prevent misuse. Be especially alert in case you had a bearer’s cheque in your wallet – these are not crossed favouring a particular payee’s account and hence can be misused by anyone to withdraw cash, especially if the payee details were blank.
File a police report – Now that you have ascertained that your wallet has indeed been lost or stolen, you would need to go to the police station (in the jurisdiction of where the loss/ theft occurred) and file a First Investigation Report (FIR).
List the contents – In addition to money, your wallet is likely to contain debit and credit cards, identity documentation, a cheque book or maybe even a cheque that you have been meaning to deposit or encash. Make a list of the contents as best you can remember so that it is just that much easier when you have to go about methodically getting things back on track.
Check your credit report – Do pull up a copy of your credit report from all the credit bureaus (namely, CIBIL, Equifax, Experian and CRIF High Mark) operational today, as this will help you check whether any credit – be it a loan or credit card – has been fraudulently obtained in your name. If you do see an unfamiliar account on your report, notify the concerned bureau immediately to track it down. You need to do this to ensure that you are not a victim of identity theft, and to keep your credit report clean.
Wallet Protection Plans
As the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure and while ensuring the safety of your wallet is not something that you can predict, you can however take adequate measures to minimise the damage and stress. Banks and other institutions offer a wallet protection plan that safeguards the contents of your wallet. On payment of a reasonable annual fee, some of the things your wallet is protected for include:
- Replacing lost PAN card and driving license
- Comprehensive fraud protection coverage – both online and offline
- Blocking a SIM card
- Emergency travel assistance (hotel and ticket booking)
- Emergency cash limit
- Emergency roadside assistance
- Online locker
Of course, before signing up for any services be sure to first check with the organisation offering the plans, and then carefully read the fine print to know exactly what you are signing up for.