Do you keep your credit cards, social security card, driver’s license, passport, debit cards, or similar identification-related materials in your purse or wallet? If so, before you read the rest of this paragraph, please check to see that you possess your purse or wallet.  Thank you.  If you have discovered that you cannot find your purse or wallet what will you do first? 

The initial response of most people to this question would be that they would report the missing items to the local police authority, the credit card agencies, the financial institutions, and other relevant groups. How much would you be able to tell them when they asked for the pertinent information?

Do yourself a favor.  As soon as you are finished reading this, get your purse or wallet and make a photocopy of each of the identification-related materials you carry.  Put that copy in a safe place that is easy to access.  Then you will have the comfort of knowing that should you ever experience a loss of those materials or should you ever have your identity stolen, you can use that copy to inform the authorities of all of the pertinent information.

What to do if your identification is missing or stolen:

  1. Inform the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service if your social security number was taken.
  2. File a report with the local police authorities.  Ask the police authorities to report the theft to surrounding jurisdictions.
  3. Ask the police authorities for a copy of the police report.
  4. Inform your financial institutions and credit card companies and other creditors of the theft and send each of them a copy of the police report.  Cancel your service with them on that account.  Ask them what their procedure is should a fraudulent claim be filed in your name.
  5. Inform Equifax, TransUnion, Experian and other credit reporting services and send them a copy of the police report..
  6. Check your credit report often.