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What to do Immediately After Losing Your Wallet / Purse

And, How to Protect Yourself

Post Date:03/12/2019 1:15 PM

As soon as you realize your wallet or purse is missing - whether it is lost or stolen - immediately take steps to reduce the chance of being a victim of identity theft or having unauthorized charges to your accounts.

  • Retrace your steps from the last time you saw the item (e.g. restaurant, work, store, school, home, etc.)
  • Notify the bank that issued your credit, debit or ATM card and cell phone carrier
  • If your checkbook disappears, close the account and reconfigure any direct deposits and auto-payments
  • Report the loss or theft to the Police Department via an online report, or by calling the non-emergency phone line at (408)615-5580
    When doing so, you will need:
    - Where and when you believe you lost, or had your wallet stolen
    - Description of the wallet / purse
    - List of everything in the wallet / purse(e.g. amount of cash, credit cards, etc.)
    - Suspect description, if any
    - Card number of any cards used as well as location, date, time and amount of transaction
  • If key(s) are missing, change the locks to your home and vehicle
  • If your social security card is missing, initiate a fraud alert or credit freeze and monitor your credit report at
    To place a fraud alert / credit freeze go to or call the three major credit-reporting agencies:
    - Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (1-888-397-3742)
    - Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
    - Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
  • Contact the Internal Revenue Service Identity Protection Unit at (800)908-4490 or check online at
  • Replace your driver’s license

Property Release from SCPD
If your wallet has been turned into SCPD, staff will make every effort to return it to its rightful owner. Property is released by appointment only; Monday-Friday, 8am-4pm excluding weekends and holidays. To schedule an appointment, call (408) 615-4727.

Steps to Take to Prepare Before You Lose Your Wallet

Make life easier! Now that you know all of the hoops you will need to jump through to replace the items in your wallet / purse and protect your identity, take these simple precautions:

  • Strip your wallet / purse of anything you don’t really need (e.g. SSN card, checkbook, health insurance card, gift card, passwords, personal identifying information, etc.)
  • Never keep your SSN card or PIN numbers in your wallet / purse
  • Photocopy everything that is in your wallet / purse 
  • Contact your bank to see if they offer text notification for charges to your credit card
  • Turn on any two-step verification features your financial institution may offer
  • Be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings (e.g. never leave a purse or wallet in a shopping basket, in-sight in a parked car or anywhere else criminals may have easy access)



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