POST OF THE DAY
Consumer Credit / Credit Cards
Lost Wallet + Preparation = No Stress

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By FoolishMicheal
September 2, 2004

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Well, it finally happened. Today I officially became a statistic for the police blotter when I lost my wallet...complete with military ID, driver's licenses, credit cards, and ATM cards. Fortunately there was no cash in my wallet.

As I prepared to leave Seckenheim this afternoon, I put my wallet on the roof of my Jeep as I put my suit coat on the back seat. I would need my ID card to get onto the next installation and wanted to have it handy. Just as I was reaching for the wallet, one of my friends walked by and we talked in the parking lot for about 15 minutes. When I finally realized I was going to be late for another meeting, I jumped into the Jeep and drove to Darmstadt.

Thirty minutes later, as I pulled into the next military installation, I reached into the center console for my wallet. All I found was empty space. It was then that I remembered that I left my wallet on the roof of the Jeep. Like an idiot with more hope than sense, I got out and looked on the roof half expecting to see the wallet where I left it. It was not. The combination of turns and 160 KPH driving ensured that my wallet was likely being pounded flat by countless German drivers on some stretch of the Autobahn.

Fortunately I was fully prepared because I read and heeded buckmizer's post. A portion of the post is:

Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine, do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when I travel either here or abroad.

I had diligently photocopied the front and back of everything I had in my wallet at the time and stored the pages in my office at work and home. Within 20 minutes I had called all of the credit card companies and credit unions to tell them that I had lost my credit and ATM cards. I even called Equifax and filed a fraud alert using their automated phone system, but I am not sure how well that will work.

It took me almost three hours to file and process a report with the Military Police and receive a 48-hour pass so I can have access to military installations. It will take another day to have my ID card made and apply for a replacement driver's license. Meanwhile, all of my money accounts are secure and it was a relatively stress-free event. Thanks buckmizer!

To make the event even more interesting, about 30 minutes ago I received a call from a German farmer who speaks a little English. He found my wallet on the side of the road adjacent to one of his fields that is only seven kilometers from my destination in Darmstadt. The wallet hung on for all of that time! One piece of paper that I put in my wallet two weeks ago was my emergency recall roster for my subordinates. He started calling the numbers on the roster until someone answered the phone. I am off to Pfungstadt to be reunited with my wallet and have a beer with a new friend.

Tschuss!
Mike


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