Summer vacation season is here, and if you’re traveling you’ll want to make sure your wallet or purse doesn’t end up in the wrong hands. Sunbury branch manager Heather Bohn has some helpful tips to keep your money safe while you’re having fun in the sun.
“There’s no worse feeling than suddenly realizing that your wallet or purse is missing, especially when you’re out of town,” Heather says. But if you do these five things immediately, you’ll improve your chances of keeping your money where it belongs – in your own bank account:
1. Immediately report the incident to the police and obtain a case or complaint number.
No matter whether the amount of cash in your wallet was small or large, getting a police report is helpful for fraud prevention when you lose your wallet.
And if someone tries to steal your identity with the information found in your wallet, Heather notes, having a documented police report goes a long way in protecting yourself.
2. Call Norry Bank at 888-877-6623 to report any lost or stolen checks or debit cards. If you don’t have our 24-hour number on hand, you can find it on our website at norrybank.com.
While you’re on the phone with one of our staff, Heather recommends that you go over the last few transactions that have been made to see if anyone has tried to use your card.
You want to be timely about notifying Norry Bank because if you report that your card has been lost before someone unauthorized uses it, you have less financial liability.
For example, reporting your card as stolen or lost after more than two business days -- but less than 60 calendar days after your statement has been sent to you -- means you could lose up to $500 for charges you didn’t make. After 60 days, reporting a lost card means you will lose all the money taken from your account and possibly more if your debit card account is linked to other accounts.
You can also lock your lost debit card with SecurLock Equip, a free service app that Norry Bank provides to customers. Just download the app and protect your debit card from your phone by locking lost cards and monitoring transaction activity.
3. Call your credit card companies to report the missing cards. Heather suggests that you should try to have as much information as possible, including account number and expiration dates.
In the case of your credit card, you pay nothing if you report the card as lost before it has been used without your authorization.
Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, you’re liable for up to $50 if it’s used before you notify your credit card company.
4. Call one of the three credit bureaus and let them know what happened. Once you’ve been in touch with one, they will contact the others for you to ensure that your good credit remains intact.
You should also request a free credit report and put a fraud alert on your account. You’re entitled to a free credit report each year and can place a free 90-day fraud alert on your credit file, which prompts lenders to take additional steps to verify an applicant’s identity if they apply for credit. Start the fraud alerts at Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion.
5. If your Social Security card was in your lost wallet, you should contact the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213.
“It’s definitely best not to keep your Social Security card in your wallet or purse,” Heather advises, “but if you do, you’ll want to contact the Social Security Administration right away.”
Once you’ve completed these five steps, you’ve got some time to think. Make a list of other items or cards that were lost along with your wallet. “Insurance cards, health cards, rewards cards, membership cards, retail cards, library cards -- write down everything,” Heather says.
If any of these cards might be used by a thief and cost you money down the road, you’ll need to find the right number to call and let the institution know your card has been lost or stolen.
Finally, Heather advises, you should go through and list all the accounts and services linked to any bank or credit card account whose numbers have now changed. So take a look at utilities that are paid automatically and subscription services, and be sure to update those numbers, so you continue to pay your bills on time.
“I know that a lost wallet on vacation can feel like the end of the world, but just get in touch with us and we can help you work through this,” Heather suggests. “We want you and your money to stay safe, and we’re here to help you get back to having fun in the sun!”
For more information on how to protect yourself from identity theft, visit norrybank.com/security-center.