Stolen Handbag and what to do
Imagine the sense of panic when you have your handbag stolen. If you’re like most, half of your life is in your handbag. Credit cards, debit cards, ID, insurance cards, money, house keys, car keys you name it’s in there. And if it falls into the wrong hands, it could be devastating. The least that can happen is you lose a little money. But you could be the victim of identity theft and fraud that could have repercussions for years.
So what do you do should the worst happen? Here is a checklist for you to follow.
1. Call the Issuers of Your Credit, Debit, and ATM Cards
Now, many people will tell you to cancel your cards immediately, but that’s not actually what you want to do. Cancelling the cards puts wheels in motion that could leave you in a mess, especially with your credit score. What you actually want to do is report the cards as lost or stolen. This is very different than cancelling, and every card issuer has a procedure that will suspend those numbers to keep your money safe.
If your cards are issued by a bank or credit union, call them as well. If cheques (including travellers cheques) were in your wallet, they can handle that accordingly.
Finally, if any of those cards were used for automatic debits, you need to inform those companies within a day or two. If you don’t, your account will not be paid, as the card will be rejected. You could go past due and owe fees, or even have your service suspended. If it’s a debt that doesn’t get paid, your APR could shoot up, or you could get a black mark on your credit score.
2. Report the Loss or Theft to the Local Authorities
Don’t trivialize your loss as something that the police don’t have time to deal with (but also don’t think they’ll be jumping on the case; there won’t be a crime squad trying to track down your handbag). The reason for this step is to provide evidence in your favour should you become a victim of identity theft or fraud and to give you a crime report number for any insurance claim. If it happens, you don’t want to be explaining why you didn’t report the loss. Some information the police may ask you includes:
- Where and when you believe you lost your handbag
- What was actually in the handbag (amount of money, credit cards etc.)
- A description of the handbag itself
- If stolen, any suspects or a description of anyone suspicious
When you’ve finished filing the report, keep a copy for your records.
3. If Keys Are Missing, Change the Locks
If your handbag contained your house keys, you don’t want to risk a break in especially if you had papers in the handbag identifying your address. Even if the handbag is returned intact, someone could very easily have copied the keys. In fact, it’s a known way to rob a house —”lift” the handbag, jot down the address from the driver's license or any other papers, copy the key, then hand it all in to the police.
So if you know for certain that house keys went missing with the handbag, change the locks. Paul from A1 Locksmiths can help you with this as he is a reputable locksmith.
4. Try to List Everything Else That Was in the Handbag
Finally once you have done all of the above try and relax and list all the other items in your handbag that may seem insignificant but could come back to haunt you. These include memberships various clubs, store cards, work ID cards and access badges, medical insurance cards, computer passwords, and padlock keys.
Some Steps You Can Take to Prepare Before You Lose Your handbag
Hopefully you’re reading this article to be informed should the worst happen. But there are steps you can take right now to be prepared. If you do lose your handbag, you’ll be in a much better position to protect yourself and get the steps above done more quickly.
Strip Your handbag of Anything You Don’t Really Need
Is there a reason you’re carrying all those credit and debit cards? If you use one 99% of the time, like most people do, then it’s not wise to carry the others for those “just in case” moments. Carry one back up with your main card, and keep the rest at home. The same goes for anything that could help an ID thief, including SSN cards, addresses, phone numbers, passwords, and other personal info.
Scan or Photocopy Everything That’s in Your Handbag
It's always good housekeeping to have a paper copy and if possible a scanned copy of all important documents like passport, driving licence, credit cards etc. If you have a mobile telephone make sure that you regularly back up your information.