Stolen wallets can be one of the most frustrating ways to wind up the victim of identity theft. Aside from the extra level of vigilance you have to take there are rounds of reports: police reports, fraud affidavits, calling up cards and reporting them lost or stolen, or the like. There’s also the inevitable flurry of obtaining replacement documents. New driver’s license. New social security card. It’s not exactly fun.
Some identity theft services, however, do help with stolen wallets. Life Lock, for example, offers “Wallet Lock.” Wallet Lock takes care of filing all of the appropriate complaints, even the fraud affidavits and police reports. They will also help you replace the missing documents. All you have to do is fill out a form on their site and follow the instructions. In a few states, they can’t go quite this far—but they will fill out documents for you and set appointments for you so that your only task is to show up and sign. Identity Guard and Trusted ID also offer stolen wallet assistance.
Stolen wallet assistance is just one of the reasons why ID theft protection services are so much more than credit monitoring firms. Sure, you can go through all of this yourself for free. But it’s often an enormous hassle, and sometimes getting the DMV to take your stolen license seriously is all but impossible. Enter a major company who is able to broker this for you and who knows exactly which person to talk to. Suddenly your life gets a whole lot easier.
There is also, of course, the matter of the ID theft insurance that most ID theft protection firms offer. If, even after all this help, your ID still ends up compromised and damaging you, you won’t walk away without compensation or without support in the ID recovery process. Having specialists and an insurance policy on your side isn’t a bad thing. The service also costs less than having a $5000 line of credit opened in your name, having it maxed out, and finding out six months later when the collection agency calls.
ID theft protection is one of those expenditures that isn’t a whole lot of fun, and that is perhaps the source of a lot of resistance when it comes to obtaining it. You just have to put it in perspective…and walk away from the “it can’t happen to me” idea. You have to extrapolate what could happen and ask yourself whether the small costs associated with the services outweigh the potential rewards in the event of a potential disaster.