|Our wallets hold so much of our lives. What happens if you lose it?
Thanks to LifeLock, I’m sharing my experience in hopes that it will help you! #spon
Between juggling my groceries and my (then) three-year-old daughter, I left my purse in the car. When I put my groceries down on the counter, I realized the error and raced back to my car, daughter-in-tow.
My purse was there.
My wallet was gone.
It happened in the span of five minutes. I lived in a nice, quiet suburban apartment. I parked in an underground, key-coded secured garage where no one (including me) felt the need to lock their cars.
When the shock wore off, I put my tear-soaked groceries away, called the police, frantically scrambled for bank and credit card statements and methodically cancelled everything I could think of.
As it was already evening, I had no access to cash, my ATM card, check writing privileges or the ability to charge. I was literally penniless and super glad I had already purchased groceries and gas… though I was already worrying about driving without a license… and the list of concerns mounted by the minute.
That day I started locking my car for the first time.
I didn’t sleep well.
I felt icky, violated and scared that someone had my personal details. Days passed by and things brightened as I obtained replacements for my stolen items. The anger over the violation persisted but the weeks began to fly by and the incident was a fading memory.
Then I arrived home to find a package on my doorstep. A package I didn’t order.
That’s when the phone calls started.
We all know about identity theft. You’ve likely even heard some horror stories like mine and thought how bad it would be to have that happen to you. But, like me, prior to having your identity stolen, you simply roll along in your happy-go-lucky habits until one day…
You wake up and find out the you that you thought was you may not longer be you.
The first important thing you need to know – Identity Theft is Real.
And it can happen to you much easier than you think.
The second important thing you need to know – You Can Protect Yourself Before It Happens.
Obviously, I couldn’t protect myself from making a mistake like leaving my purse in my car. Things happen, we make errors.
What I could have done prior to having my identity stolen was take some very simple, quick steps to help me out in the event it ever happened:
1. Keep records. One of the first things I struggled with was remembering what was in my wallet at the time it was stolen. I now store a record of that information in a secure place along with phone numbers to companies. This includes my health plan carrier as they need to be alerted along with your financial institution to prevent fraud.
2. Destroy or shred items with personal information when no longer needed. Credit card statements, prescription bottle labels, bank statements, expired charge cards and other materials containing private information should be safely disposed of to prevent others from accessing.
3. Consider using a monitoring service like LifeLock. LifeLock uses a data surveillance techniques combined with member service options to monitor your identity, scans for identity thief threats, and help you in the event that your information is compromised. Services like this help you go along in your happy-go-lucky life mode with the peace of mind that your information is being monitored for “red flags.”
Which brings me to the third important thing you need to know – You Can Get Help if You are the Victim of Identity Theft.
LifeLock is a resource that offers support to help recover your lost identity and work through the complications that may arise. You can find more information about these important services on the LifeLock Site.
Right now, you can also obtain 10% off LifeLock services by using the special promo code LIFELOCKSECURE
I truly wish I’d had signed up with a service like LifeLock before identity theft happened to me. I struggled without resources to turn to, the amount of paperwork alone was over-whelming, not to mention having to deal with a court date from an unhappy creditor. All experiences I’d rather not repeat but also experiences where I would have truly welcomed having some guidance!
Other valuable resources in the event of identity theft may be The Federal Trade Commission (for tips and sample documents,) your primary banking institution, credit reporting agencies (to obtain a copy of your credit report,) and lawyers.
Have you been a victim of wallet theft or identity theft? If you have tips to add, please share them!