Written by Bernie Carr
A few weeks ago, a friend of ours lost his wallet, including his phone in a sports stadium. It was one of those combined wallet and phone cases. This got me thinking that losing both your wallet and phone at the same time is an emergency in itself, maybe not for others, but certainly for the one it happens to.
Losing your wallet and phone can be a stressful experience, so let’s look at what you can do to mitigate the potential problems that may arise if it happens to you.
Before this happens to you, consider taking preventive measures to avoid some of the issues:
- We talked about making your document binder for emergencies – include photocopies of your wallet contents in your emergency binder.
- Use password-protected lock screens on your devices.
- Pare down the contents of your wallet, down to your ID and main credit card. Never carry your social security card in your wallet.
- Your important contacts and valued photos are usually stored in your phone. You wouldn’t want to lose access to them if your phone is lost. Back up your phone’s data regularly.
What to do if you lose your phone and wallet
Here are some tips to help you navigate such a situation:
- Stay Calm: Losing your wallet and phone can be alarming, but it’s important to stay calm and composed. Take a deep breath and focus on the next steps to ensure a smoother resolution.
- Contact Lost and Found: There may be a possibility your phone is found and returned; contact the security or maintenance office to see if anyone has found your property and returned it. Make arrangements to pick it up as soon as possible.
- Report the Loss/Theft: If your wallet and phone are lost or stolen, report the incident to the local authorities and provide them with all the necessary details. This will help establish an official record of the incident and may be required for insurance claims or other legal purposes.
- Contact Your Bank and Credit Card Companies: Notify your bank and credit card companies immediately about the loss of your wallet. Request to cancel your cards and inquire about the process of obtaining replacements. Most financial institutions have a dedicated helpline for reporting lost or stolen cards.
- Activate Tracking and Consider Remote Wiping: If you have a smartphone, use a tracking app or contact your mobile service provider to activate the tracking feature. This will help you locate your phone or remotely wipe the data to protect your personal information.
- Change Passwords and Enable Two-Factor Authentication: If your phone had access to any sensitive accounts or apps, change the passwords for those accounts as soon as possible. Enable two-factor authentication for added security.
- Inform Your Mobile Service Provider: Contact your mobile service provider to report the loss of your phone and discuss your options. They can assist you in suspending your service temporarily or transferring it to a new device.
- Update Emergency Contacts: If your phone had emergency contact information, update it with an alternative contact number or provide an email address where you can be reached.
- Monitor Your Accounts: Keep a close eye on your bank statements, credit card statements, and other financial accounts for any suspicious activity. Report any unauthorized transactions to your financial institutions promptly.
- Replace Important Documents: If your wallet contained identification cards, such as a driver’s license or passport, contact the relevant authorities to initiate the process of obtaining replacements.
Our friend, fortunately, did find his phone. He reported it to the security office before he left the stadium and they indicated they will send him an email if they found it. He did not hear from them for a couple of days. He then used a “find your device” app which showed it was still at the stadium. He then called the security office and they confirmed they had his phone but never got around to emailing him. He went to pick it up and everything was intact. He was lucky it was found.
Emergencies can be small or large – losing your phone and wallet may not impact anyone else but you, but it can still cause some damage and stress to your personally. Take precautions and it hopefully won’t happen to you, but if it does, you’ll be glad you prepared.
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About the author
Bernie Carr is the founder of Apartment Prepper. She has written several books including the best-selling Prepper’s Pocket Guide, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure, The Penny-Pinching Prepper, and How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget. Bernie’s latest e-book, FRUGAL DIY has just been released on Amazon. Her work appears on sites such as the Allstate Blog and Clark.com, as well as print magazines such as Backwoods Survival Guide and Prepper Survival Guide. She has been featured in national publications such as Fox Business and Popular Mechanics. Learn more about Bernie here.