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Wallet recovery plan

Chances are, your life is hectic enough. The last thing you want to deal with? Losing your wallet. It helps to create a protection plan for your wallet. Do this by following the three R's: Remove, Record and Recover.

Chances are, your life is hectic enough. The last thing you want to deal with? Losing your wallet.

The best way to deal with a lost or stolen wallet--prevent it from happening in the first place. "I think first of all, it's where you put your wallet, and making sure that you keep it out of reach," says David Anderson, product director of the insurance site ProtectYourBubble.com.

He says it helps to create a protection plan for your wallet. Do this by following the three R's: Remove, Record and Recover.

Step One: Remove. "You should never have your social security card with you," says Anderson. "It's just asking for trouble…and then, again, the unnecessary credit cards that you don't need. It's good to get those out as well."

There are other items that should be removed, too. Account numbers and passwords, for example. Spare keys. And, of course, you should never carry your birth certificate with you.

Step two of your wallet protection plan: Record. It helps to take an inventory of what's in your wallet. Record the information and phone numbers you'll need to recover any lost or stolen items. These may include credit card, bank and insurance information and the phone numbers of those institutions.

Just make sure to store this information in a secure place. Consider giving your document a unique name and uploading it somewhere accessible but safe. "Use a cloud service like a Dropbox," says Anderson. "You can take pictures of the front and back of your credit cards and passports, if you're traveling. It's password protected, so people can't get to it…one place you don't want those pictures is on your cellphone."

Step three--Recover. You should know who to contact and what to say in case your wallet does go missing. First, file a police report. They might not be able to find your wallet, but if you have any fraudulent activity, the report will come in handy. You'll also have to call your bank and credit card companies. To recover your ID, you should contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles. If you did have your social security card in your wallet, you'll have to contact the Social Security Administration office to work on getting a replacement. And finally, consider ordering your credit report to check for any signs of identity theft.

Of course, there's no guarantee that you'll never have to deal with a lost or stolen wallet. But a little planning can greatly reduce your risk.
Kristin Wong, CreditCards.com

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