The first feeling is one of shock. Then you simply don’t know what to do. When your wallet or credit cards are stolen, it can be the start of a horrible nightmare. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. There are five simple steps you can take to protect yourself, your finances, and your credit report.
Copy your drivers license, ID card, insurance documentation, social security card replacement and other important documents. You might need them following the emergency and not be able to get to the originals. Do not put the originals in the bag however, just use copies. Put in a small amount of money so you can purchase things if needed or available. You probably will not find too many ATM machines working during a disaster.
The following are the necessary steps you need to take to ensure that your new name is official. You will also be needing the following; note cards, thank you greeting cards, telephones, and copies of your marriage license.
Tip: whatever you do, don’t let your minor child have his own social security card replacement media profile. If she insists, do not let her post any pictures or any other information. She can even use an alias. Make sure you monitor her usage closely (insist on having her username and password).
You might think about using just part of your savings to pay off some of your debt. If you’re getting paid 2 or 3 % interest on your savings account, while you’re paying – let’s say – even a low annual rate of 12% on a credit card debt, think about how much money you could save if you paid that charge debt off now! Just be careful to leave enough savings in your account in case you need that money for an emergency.
Some credit card issuers charge $25 or more, while others don’t charge you a fee. There are literally hundreds of credit card issuers out there, so why would you want to keep a card that you have to pay the company to use? As long as your credit rating is good, you don’t have to accept a credit card that tacks on this extra fee every year.
If you have very good credit, don’t settle for less than you deserve. If you are paying more than 12 – 15% interest on your credit cards, then you’re paying too much. Think about it. With the prime interest rate at 9 or 10%, lenders that charge 18% or more interest per year on credit card balances have their hands on your checkbook! You should be able to obtain a credit card rate for between 10% and 12%.
If you are in a hurry to receive your new passport, you can pay an extra $60 for the expedited fee. You need to write EXPEDITED on the outside of the envelope. Mark it clearly so that when it arrives at its destination it will be handled properly. Another option you have is to visit a local agency that handles passports. You can find a local office by going to the website for the Bureau of Consular Affairs. This is the best option if you will need to have your passport in less than 2 weeks.