Identity theft is on the rise, so it’s important for individuals to report a lost driver’s license to law enforcement, as well as any other lost passport or other official ID. Taking this step can help people protect themselves and prevent crime. It’s also one way of getting a free replacement in certain situations.
How Do I Report a Lost Driver’s License?
Individuals should go to the nearest police station to report a lost driver's license, as well as a missing passport, non-driver’s ID or other official identification. In some states, a police report allows someone to replace a stolen license or ID free of charge.
At the same time when someone reports a lost wallet, she should give the police a list of every missing ID card, gift card, credit card or bank cards or checks. The sooner she files a report and contacts her bank and credit card companies, the fewer liabilities she’ll face for fraudulent spending.
Depending on the state, a police report may be enough to waive the fee for a replacement ID. In others, there will be a small charge. More importantly, in some states, the applicant will have to appear in person to request a new ID card. The state may also choose to replace the ID number to prevent anyone from using the lost card for identity fraud.
How Do I Report a Lost Passport?
There are two kinds of passports available in the United States. Passport books allow for international travel by land, air or sea. Travelers use passport cards for land or sea travel only and sometimes purchase them at the same time as their passport book. Those who like to go on cruises, in particular, sometimes carry both forms so they can leave their passport books safely on the ship while they use their cards to enter ports.
When either a passport book or card goes missing, it’s essential for the traveler to inform authorities right away. The governments in most countries recognize passports as primary IDs. They can be used to obtain almost any other type of ID, so they’re highly sought after by identity thieves.
To report the loss or theft of a physical passport book or card, U.S. citizens should fill out Form DS-64. If a citizen is in another country when a passport goes missing, he should go to the nearest U.S. consulate or embassy. Those wanting a replacement must fill out Form DS-11 and pay the appropriate documentation and fee.
Travelers needing a new passport within three weeks should visit a passport agency. Some centers have same-day service available for an additional fee.
Read More: How to Report a Lost Passport & Citizenship Certificate
How Do I Report a Lost Social Security Number?
Unlike a driver’s license number, a Social Security number is incredibly difficult to change. It’s meant to last a lifetime, so the Social Security Agency allows for changes only in very specific circumstances.
Instead of filing for a new number, someone with a missing card should simply request a replacement. As of December 2019, this service is available online for residents in all except the following states:
- New Hampshire.
- West Virginia.
Residents of these states must visit a local Social Security Office and fill out Form SS-5. There is no fee for a replacement.
However, a person can only request three replacement cards in a year and 10 total over his lifetime. That’s one reason authorities caution people to keep their cards in a safe place at home instead of in a wallet that might get lost or stolen.
How Can I Protect My Credit If I Lose My ID?
Most identity theft comes in the form of fraudulent credit card and loan applications. So, if someone knows her ID is missing, she’d be smart to contact the three major credit bureaus and put a fraud alert on her credit reports. This won’t prevent her from getting credit in the future, but it will ensure lenders take extra steps before approving applications.
Consumers can contact the bureaus at the following numbers:
- Equifax – 888-766-0008.
- Experian – 800-311-4769.
- TransUnion – 800-680-7289.
With over 20 years of professional writing experience, Hilary Ferrand knows her way around the interwebs. Find out more by following her at LinkedIn.