My wallet was pickpocketed and it had my social security card in it.
April 20, 2013 7:18 PM   Subscribe

What can I do now besides canceling my credit cards and getting a replacement license? I'm terrified of identity theft and feel victimized.
posted by rainygrl716 to Law & Government (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'd start here and here.
posted by sevensnowflakes at 7:39 PM on April 20, 2013

I am so sorry! Losing a wallet is such a hassle.

From the Social Security Website:
You can place a fraud alert on your credit file by contacting one of the three credit rating companies:
Equifax - 1-800-525-6285
Trans Union - 1-800-680-7289
Experian - 1-888-397-3742

The company you contact is required to contact the other two, which will then place an alert on your credit report.

You should also closely monitor your credit card statements, get a credit check through the official website.

You should also file a police report. It might not get you the wallet back but could be important if someone does end up trying to steal your identity and you need to deal with it.

Regarding your credit cards: the banks are used to dealing with lost wallets and should be able to guide you through putting a stop on the old card and getting you a new one over the phone without too much trouble (other than having to wait for a card). If you go to a branch your bank may be able to replace the card immediately.

Not trying to be snarky but this is a good reminder to everyone else reading AskMe that this is exactly why the government advises you NOT to carry your social security card in your wallet. You almost never need the actual card, just the number.
posted by Wretch729 at 7:43 PM on April 20, 2013 [7 favorites]

I second filing a police report. They won't do anything, most likely, but they will make a record and give you a report number and case number. If, in the future, someone starts using your account numbers or impersonating you, it's very handy to be able to point to that as evidence that, yes, someone is impersonating you.

OTOH, I think it's just as likely that the pickpocket just took the cash and maybe the credit cards and tossed everything else in the nearest dumpster.
posted by hattifattener at 8:08 PM on April 20, 2013

Perhaps you could also request a security freeze on your credit from the three reporting agencies? Probably worth asking about at least. Best of luck!
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 8:33 PM on April 20, 2013

This happened to me last fall. I'm sorry to hear it but you will be OK.

I will third filing a police report, even though it won't really do anything for you to recover your wallet in any practical sense. However, if fraudulent charges do come up (charged by the thief between the time that your wallet was stolen and you canceled the card) the forms you have to file noting the charges will ask if you filed a police report. My understanding is that you are basically formally stating that, yes, your wallet was stolen.

Also, in the vein of "general preventive/alleviation measures" for others reading this AskMe, this is why it is also useful to have a second form of government identity such as your passport even if you have no imminent international travel plans. Between the time I got my wallet stolen and was able to get my DL replaced, it was so, so useful to have a passport. (I had to fly!)
posted by andrewesque at 8:36 PM on April 20, 2013

Response by poster: So the police told me unless I can prove it was stolen and I didn't just lose it they wouldn't let me file a police report?! I don't understand that at all. Thanks for all the other advice. I actually did look in nearby garbage cans for the wallet hoping the pickpocket tossed it there after taking the whopping $7.00 in cash but no luck.
posted by rainygrl716 at 1:58 AM on April 21, 2013

That does not make sense, how can most victims of theft prove something was stolen? I would try back, speak with someone else and press your case.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 6:00 AM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

I had my identity stolen once--very disturbing. Along with all the good advice above (especially the fraud alert with the credit agencies) I added a password to all my dealings with financial institutions; that is, every time I talk in person with a representative of my bank, say, they will ask me "do you happen to have a secret word on this account?"--so I can't use the SSN by itself to authenticate my identity.
posted by yoink at 7:51 AM on April 21, 2013

It does seem a real experience in some metros -- the cops refusing to take a pickpocketing report. (When my wallet was taken -- in the Columbus Circle subway station during a massive delay-related crowd -- the NYPD did take my report over the phone only and gave me a case number at least, but that was 25 years ago.) Allegedly refusing to take reports of "minor" crimes (or ubiquitous ones?) may be to keep COMPSTAT-type numbers down. One woman found her wallet went missing in a Starbucks:

She said she believed her wallet had been stolen, but could not prove it. She assumed the police had recorded it as pickpocketing, but when she retrieved a copy of the report days later, she saw it was recorded not as a crime, but as lost property that had gone “missing in an unknown manner.”

(New NYPD guidelines suggest that victims need not have been "bumped or jostled" to be recorded as grand larceny.)

So, knowing this is a common problem, perhaps go back to the police and demand to speak to a supervisor, indicate that you need a police report for insurance purposes, and finally, reiterate that the police are public servants and you are the public.
posted by dhartung at 10:57 PM on April 21, 2013

« Older Sticks and stones...   |   How to stay organized and synced without... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.