Fraud & Identity Theft

How to Protect Your Identity When You Have a Lost Wallet

A lost or stolen wallet is more than just an inconvenience. It could cost you thousands of dollars or more. 

Because your wallet usually has your bank and credit cards, as well as your driver’s licence or health card, identity thieves can use that information to try to open new credit accounts in your name. 

You could be on the hook for someone else’s spending, and your credit scores could be seriously damaged, making it harder for you to get a new credit card or qualify for a new loan.  

How to protect your ID and financial future if you lose your wallet

When your wallet is lost or stolen, it’s important to act fast to cancel all your bank and credit cards and report your ID as stolen. 

  1. Contact your bank and credit card companies: The sooner you do this, the better. The longer you wait, the more likely you’ll be held responsible for what someone else buys with your card. You can find a toll-free phone number on the financial institution’s website, your banking/credit card app, or your paper statements. Let them know your payment cards are missing. They can cancel them and issue you new ones.
  2. File a police report: Having a police report is a key step in protecting your identity. You’ll often need one to set up a fraud alert on your credit reports and to prove to your bank, credit card companies, and other creditors that you’ve been the victim of fraud. 
  3. Set up fraud alerts: There are different kinds of fraud alerts but they all involve adding a statement including your phone number to your credit report asking creditors and lenders to contact you before extending credit. Learn more about adding a fraud alert to your Equifax credit report.
  4. Change your passwords: Change all of your banking and credit card account passwords. If you can, enable two-factor authentication for even more security. 
  5. Get new ID cards: Contact your provincial or territory services to cancel and reissue your driver’s license, health card, and other forms of provincial ID. If you lost your passport, permanent resident card, or other forms of federal ID, you’ll need to contact the appropriate federal department.
  6. Review recurring automatic payments: If you’ve replaced your credit or debit card, be sure to update your recurring automatic payments to avoid missing any payments. Some recurring payments may still be honoured on the lost credit card even if it’s replaced, but you should check with your bank or financial institution to make sure. 
  7. Check for unusual account activity: For the next few months, check your billing statements for purchases or withdrawals you didn’t make. And check your credit reports for any activity you don’t recognize, such as new credit accounts. If anything suspicious comes up, you can contact the lender or creditor. You can also contact the two nationwide credit bureaus to dispute the information. Visit our dispute site to file a dispute with Equifax.
  8. Get identity theft protection: Equifax CompleteTM products provide credit monitoring and will alert you to key changes to your Equifax credit report, which can help you spot signs of fraud faster. We’ll also help you restore your ID and provide up to $1 million in identity theft insurance (see our terms of use for more details). 

4 steps to help you act fast when you lose your wallet

There are steps you can take now to make it easier to recover if you lose your wallet:

  • Keep a list of your credit card and bank card numbers in a safe place (such as a locked drawer, or a password-protected computer file). Include the emergency phone numbers for your financial institutions (the toll-free number is usually on the back of your bank and credit cards).
  • Only carry the bank, credit, and ID cards that you absolutely need. 
  • Don’t keep your Social Insurance Number in your wallet. 
  • Get identity theft protection. Equifax CompleteTM products include Lost Wallet Assistance, which means we help you cancel and reissue your bank and credit cards, as well as your government-issued ID. We’ll also set up a fraud alert on your Equifax credit report for you.
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With Equifax CompleteTM Premier, we monitor your credit report and score to help you spot signs of fraud. And if your identity is stolen, we'll help you recover.