Report Your Lost Wallet To Simplify Card Replacement

Losing your wallet for any reason is a gut-wrenching experience. Reporting it to the police not only means you might get it back, but can also save you money when you need to get replacement cards and documents.

Picture by Thomas

Lifehacker reader Peter wrote in to explain how his recent wallet-loss experience taught him a useful lesson:

A couple of weeks ago I had that sinking feeling when I patted my pocket and the reassuring lump of my wallet wasn't in there. I convinced myself that I must have just left it at home, but when I got back from work and turned my room upside down I realised that no; gone it was and so commenced the joyless task of calling all of the various authorities - banks, RTA, etc.

You can't imagine how much of your life you keep in your wallet until you try to replace it all, and it's not just the regular cards, it's the photos and odds and ends you keep there for a rainy day - my favourite guitar pick was in that thing....

So anyway, cue call after call with the same content "Hi, my name's Peter. Wallet: gone. Cards: need." Some of these are quick and easy - banks replace your cards free of charge. Places like the RTA, on the other hand, do not. Would you believe that Qantas charges for a replacement Frequent Flyer card?

Fortunately the first thing I'd done was to call the police to see if it was handed in and raise an incident report. It turns out that a lot (not all, but most) of the organisations who issue cards will ask "Was your wallet lost or stolen?". If it's stolen and you have a police report number you can generally get your cards replaced gratis. This saved me $36 with WA Vehicle Licensing - not a huge saving, but when it comes to avoiding the insult of having to pay to replace all the cards after the injury of losing the best part of your proof of identity I'll take that as a small win.

So the moral of the story here is that if you DO wind up in the unfortunate situation where your wallet's gone walkabout and taken your life with it, make sure the first call you make is to the police.

Sensible advice. Setting aside time to record details of all cards stored in your wallet (and contact numbers to replace them) and storing them in a secure online system is also a wise idea. Thanks Peter!


    So lifehacker is suggesting that we report the lost wallet as stolen and thus lying to the cops?

      Lifehacker is all about lying to the cops.

      I recently had my wallet stolen and tried to report it to the police but I was told quite bluntly that it was too much paperwork and to go have 'another look for it' and then come back and report it during another shift

      You can make a report to the police for a "lost wallet" it doesn't have to be stolen. I lost my mobile phone and made a police report (for insurance purposes) and it's the same thing, you get a police report number.

      But if you find a wallet on the street that someone dropped you are legally required to hand it in to the police. "Theft by finding" is a crime, so therefore if you lose it and no one hands it in then it was stolen.

    I think lying to the police is the immoral of the story.

    If your wallet is not in back pocket and not anywhere at home then it must have been STOLEN

    PS do you use one of those clothes valets - check wallet not on floor underneath

    Don't bother going to a police station. Call the Australia wide police help no. 131444. They'll give an incident no. over the phone.

    Before you lose your wallet, take all your cards out and put them on your scanner together (you are a lifehacker reader - so you do have a scanner right?) While you're scanning stuff, do the same with your passport.

    Scan them. Now turn them all over and scan the backs. Now save them as a PDF file (on a Mac print as PDF, on a PC download 'cutePDF' and them print as PDF).

    Upload the pdf files to google docs (for free).

    Now they are accesible anywhere in the world that has internet access.

    Yet another reason I use a Dosh Wallet. It only holds six cards - essentially a money clip with a small card-holder wrapped around it. No oversized, bulky wallet - less hassle if the thing gets lost.

    Of course, if you do scan all your cards so you have the numbers available to replace the cards, take the extra step of encrypting the resulting document. The document itself is worth stealing for the numbers and expiry dates it contains, and the photo on your drivers license and passport.

    I lost my wallet lost night, know where I lost it (in Dome cafe, went back and its not there, nor has been handed in to the care, the police etc. I still can't believe people steal ( yes finders keepers is stealing), Very distressing, especially at Christmas time,

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