Your wallet is gone, along with your credit cards. Is your worry justified that someone will try to use your credit cards and stick you with the bill? We decided to find out.
In an exclusive MoneyTips survey, we asked 509 Americans in November whether they had ever lost or had stolen their wallets, purses, pocketbooks or money clips (we'll use 'wallets' from now on to represent these four accessories). We then asked those who were victims of missing wallets:
Of those who did have missing cards, nearly 1 in 3 (32%) reported that someone unauthorized had tried to use their debit or credit cards. This misfortune appeared to increase with age: only 28% of those under 45 were affected, versus 36% of those 45 and over. This identity theft issue affected 35% of the women, compared to only 29% of the men.
We then asked these victims:
Surprisingly, only 39% checked their credit more frequently after the disappearance of their wallet. 45% reported checking their credit the same, while 12% didn't check before and still don't check it. And a clueless 4% admit to checking their credit less frequently! You can see your credit report and score for free within minutes by joining MoneyTips.
"Get those credit cards cancelled immediately when they go missing," warns Greg Scott, IT professional and identity theft victim. "That's the easy part. The hard part is, a thief can order brand-new credit cards with your driver's license and Social Security number, go on a shopping spree, and ruin your credit. And then disappear leaving you holding the bag. And more than half the people surveyed who lost their wallets did nothing about it. No wonder identity theft is so rampant."
It appears you can teach an old dog new tricks, as older people appear to be checking their credit more frequently after having their wallets lost or stolen. We then explored if gender played a role in checking credit.
Women learn their lessons better than men, it seems. 42% of the women surveyed checked their credit more frequently after losing their wallets, as compared to only 34% of the men.
"This blows me away!" admits Greg Scott, author of the identity theft book Bullseye Breach. "More than half the people who lost their wallet and almost two thirds of men who lost their wallet do nothing about it. But the earlier numbers showed somebody tried to use a credit card in nearly one third of the cases. In Russian Roulette, only one chamber has a bullet. Here, almost a third of the chambers have bullets and nobody cares!"
For Lost Wallet Protection and Assistance, along with credit monitoring, reports, and scores, plus $1 million identity theft insurance and full-service identity restoration, try a free MoneyTips trial.
For more of our exclusive data and insights, visit MoneyTips Missing Wallet Survey Findings.