Have you ever lost your wallet or purse? If not, have you ever imagined what you would do if you did?

So it’s Friday afternoon and I’m lined up (with my family) to get the H1N1 vaccine for the toddler. After the 5.5 hour wait (yes hours), I decided to drop my family off at home and run a few banking errands at the nearest BMO branch. After making the various bank transactions, I headed home to settle away for the night.

The next morning, I decide to do some online banking so I instinctively head to the counter top where I always leave my wallet upon entering the house. However this time, it’s no where to be seen.

“No worries, it’s around the house somewhere” I said to myself.

With that, I went to the possible wallet locations such as my jacket, office, laundry and even searched through the kids toys. Still no where to be found. As I knew that I used my wallet the evening before, there were very few options as to where it could be.

I’d like to say that I’m a positive person, but a feeling of panic started to well up in the pit of my stomach. I started to assume the worse. What did I have in the wallet? Who do I need to call to cancel all my credit and debit cards? Which bills use automatic payment via credit card? What about my prepaid mastercard? ID’s, MCP and cash!

While in the midst of my melt down, the phone rings and it’s the police! Luckily, an honest person found my wallet on the ground outside the BMO branch and brought it to the police station after they couldn’t get in touch with me via phone. When I went to pick it up, I was thankfully given the contact information of the samaritan which I used to offer a small reward as a token of my appreciation.

Although my missing wallet situation worked out, what if I wasn’t so lucky? Here are some ways you can mitigate the catastrophe in the case of losing your wallet/purse:

  1. Keep non essential cards out of the wallet/purse – For example, if there are credit cards or bank cards that you don’t use often, or even store cards that are seldom used, keep them at home.  I am an air miles collector, but I keep my air miles number in my cell phone but the physical card at home.
  2. Record all essential information – Credit/bank card numbers, expiry dates and customer support numbers. Keep it all recorded and in a safe place.
  3. Use a Service – There are services out there that keep all your card numbers in once place and make the cancellation/renewal phone calls for you.  However, this service can be replaced by simply keeping track of all your information yourself.

Back to the original question, have you lost your wallet or purse before?

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FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.
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11 years ago

I’ve never lost my wallet and part of that is because I always put my wallet in my front pocket, never my back packet. I think it is harder for it to come out on its own or via a pickpocket.

When I travel outside of Canada, I do a purge of all cards that I won’t need. If the family goes on vacation, I take all of the cards I don’t need and hide them in the house (I”ve sometimes used the freezer).

I also copy certain information into my corporate blackberry that I carry with me but I don’t have credit card info per se. Just some affinity card numbers.

My login info is stored in an encrypted file that I have on a USB memory stick for cards that I can’t remember the number for.

I just went into TD branch on the weekend because I’d heard a rumour that they will issue you a chip based debit card if you go to the branch. They do not put your name on the card anymore and the number on the card has changed – means another one for me to memorize.

I never carry around my SIN card or Birth Certificate and I don’t like to carry my passports with me when I travel – I’d rather keep them in the room safe but some countries I visit require me to have the passport on my person. Again – the passport goes into my front pants pocket.

11 years ago

Had my wallet picked from a secured pocket in China (Forbidden City actually) 4 weeks ago. I knew it was gone about a minute after. I immediately started searching the area, garbage bins etc because typically people dump them after taking the cash. A minute later someone was bringing it to the security people. $60 cash gone, but everything else was still there.

My lesson: Don’t carry a wallet in cash-only countries, or even better carry a decoy wallet. A small bunch of bills with larger ones tucked away with documents in something like a money belt works even better. Even if they did go away with my wallet, I had split my contents up so I wasn’t going to loose everything. So much for the zippered pocket being secure!

Will @ Cheap Date Ideas!
11 years ago

Lost my wallet last week! I was scared out of my mind

Luckily, I built rapport with the people at the establishment and I was able to retrieve my wallet with everything in it!

Northern Alex
11 years ago

:) Yes, I lost my wallet once….. when I was 15 and I am scared of the idea of losing it again.

But now 20 years later my mom still reminds me not to loose my wallet (and to close my jacket, because it is cold outside). :)

11 years ago

I don’t understand why you’d care if someone found your air miles card. More power to them if they want to use it!

Ms Save Money
11 years ago

Thanks for the tip & glad you were able to get your wallet back, however, not all of us may be that fortunate. I will definitely go home tonight and record all of the belongings in my wallet.

11 years ago

I guess the lesson from this, is people should leave their Birth certificate, SIN card, at home at all times. There is never a need for this in daily life really..

While traveling, people should only take the bare essentials.. only credit cards you need, leave BC, health cards at home. Only take passport, and specific travel insurance necessary ….

11 years ago

Oh I have my stories about lost wallets too. Lost my wallet because of absent mindedness once (left it on the bank machine!) and it was returned to me with all the cash and the cards. Then I lost it again outside the emergency dept of a hospital while my mother was being admitted. It was again returned to me with all the cards and cash (but not before I canceled the cards). There are many more honest people out there than I thought existed. I am truly grateful for that.
Years later, I had a friend who was quite absent minded herself and left the wallet lying around in public place. I warned her many times but she never listened to me. One day I wanted to teach her a lesson and hid her wallet behind the microwave of our lunch room. Bad idea!! I forgot all about it soon after. When she asked me the next day if I had seen her wallet, my lower jaw dropped to floor. It was too late, she had canceled all her cards. The wallet was still behind the microwave by the way… no one had taken it… whew!! I offered to pay my friend any costs associated with replacing her cards or other documents. She declined and was quite nice about it. I might not have been so nice if someone else did that to me.
Few more years passed and I found an unlocked briefcase on the Toronto subway with a passport, SIN number and bank account info. I locked it and returned it to the Lost & Found. That was my turn to help out someone who lost sensitive information. I am looking out for more lost wallets with IDs so that they can be returned to their rightful owners. For lost cash (mostly coins) with no sign of their owners, I put them in a jar and donate it to a good cause at the end of the year.

11 years ago

Losing a wallet really sucks. Not only do you feel worried that someone is using your id for shady purposes, but you also have to go through the hassles of trying to replace all of your wallet contents. Some of those cards like drivers licenses even require a fee to replace them. The only assurance we have is knowing that most banks will protect you in times like this.

11 years ago

I recently has my wallet stolen and did the same. I canceled everything right away and then worked on getting my life back together. You don’t need to keep much in there normally just the basics. Cancel cards, get new ones, get new drivers license.