For most Pennsylvania consumers, losing a wallet causes an immediate sense of panic. This is especially true if said wallet contains valuable payment cards and personal information. In fact, an average Pennsylvania wallet likely contains credit cards, a debit card, a driver’s license, and cash. Some consumers even carry their Social Security cards with them. Therefore, when you lose your wallet, you feel vulnerable to theft and identity theft. After all, you never know who might pick up these valuable possessions. Unfortunately, if you lose your wallet, you should assume the worst. Then, you should take the necessary precautions to guard yourself against financial and credit score damage.
Five Ways Pennsylvania Consumers Can Minimize Identity Theft Risk after Losing their Wallets
In a perfect Pennsylvania, only nice people would pick up lost wallets, and they would promptly return them to their Pennsylvania owners. However, thieves and identity thieves live in Pennsylvania too. While there is no guarantee that someone with bad intentions will end up with your wallet, you should address the possibility – immediately. Don’t give potential thieves time to drain your bank account, make purchases with your credit cards, or create fraudulent accounts in your name.
First of all, act quickly, but don’t panic. Even if the worst has happened, and your wallet was found by the most notorious identity thieves in Pennsylvania, you can still minimize the damage. Next, take any of the following steps that are applicable to your situation.
Call your bank.
Even if Pennsylvania consumers who lose their wallets end up finding them, they shouldn’t delay the canceling of their payment cards. So, start with your debit card – because a fraudster could use it to drain your bank account. Call your bank, and report the card as lost. Then, your bank should cancel that debit card (along with the associated number), and issue you a new one.
Contact your credit card issuers.
Next, contact your credit card issuer(s) and report your credit card(s) as lost. These companies will then cancel the missing credit cards and issue you new ones. Also, if a thief makes fraudulent charges on one or more of your credit cards, under the Credit Card Act of 2009, you are only liable for up to $50. Of course, credit card companies with zero liability policies chare you nothing for bogus transactions.
Visit a Department of Motor Vehicles office.
In Pennsylvania, it only costs $5 to replace a lost or stolen driver’s license. You should replace your missing license as quickly as possible to avoid the much more expensive fine imposed for driving without one. Just make sure to bring the proper identification documents with you to safe time and frustration. Visit https://www.dmv.org/pa-pennsylvania/replace-license.php for more information about the process.
Contact the Social Security Administration.
Most security experts in Pennsylvania advise against carrying your Social Security card in your wallet. However, if you were carrying it in a lost wallet, contact the Social Security Administration to get a new one. Then, when it arrives, find a safe place and keep it there. Unfortunately, it’s bad news if your Social Security card or number falls into the wrong hands. Identity thieves can take this all-important piece of personal information and use it to open fraudulent credit card accounts. They can also take out loans in your name, seek medical services, sign up for your Social Security benefits, and steal your tax refund. So, if you lose your Social Security Card, you should file your tax return early and watch your credit reports carefully.
Checking Your Credit Reports is the Last Line of Defense Against Pennsylvania Identity Theft
Even Pennsylvania consumers who never lose their wallets should regularly check their credit reports. For one thing, about 5.4 million Pennsylvania consumers were affected by the Equifax data breach. Then, smaller data breaches happen every day. The truth is that, no matter how careful you are with your personal information, fraudsters can figure out how to steal it and commit identity theft.
So, take advantage of your right under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA). This federal statute allows you to request a free copy of your credit report from each of the major credit bureaus every 12 months. Just go to www.annualcreditreport.com to get credit reports from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian from one website.
Then, while reviewing your credit reports, if you spot signs of identity theft, file a police report immediately. Next, instead of trying to repair your credit reports on your own, contact Credit Repair Lawyers of America in Pennsylvania. Our team of credit pros will quickly connect you with an experienced credit attorney who will get fraudulent items removed from your credit reports quickly, legally, and for FREE.
The Free and Legal way to Get Better Credit in Pennsylvania After Identity Theft
Don’t let identity theft damage bring your credit score down. At Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? The law allows us to collect our fees and costs from the defendants in any successful action. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.
Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (856) 912-3511 or sending him a message through our contact page.
For more information about Free Credit Repair After Identity Theft, please visit https://www.creditrepairlawyersam.com/pennsylvania/fix-identity-theft/.