Preparing for Loss
Hopefully you will have read this introduction before you’ve lost anything. You’ll feel better if you do things to help you with any loss before you lose anything:
- Take a photocopy of all of your ID – credit cards (front and back), passport, health card, drivers license, birth certificate, social insurance card.
- Make a label for your cellphone, cameras, electronic devices with your email on it and paste it on the back of your electronic device.
- Fill out your luggage tags with current information. Put luggage tags on your backpack.
- Laminate cards with your email addresses
In the case where you totally haven’t planned for loss, don’t fret.
I am going to focus this article on wallets and cellphones mainly because they are the most common things that you’ll worry most about losing.
As soon as you’ve figured out you’ve lost something:
Take a breath and don’t assume the worst.
Really. This is an important step. Stop for a second and take a really deep breath. Be animated about it and let the breath fill your chest. This is going to help get oxygen to your brain and you won’t go into panic mode.
Check and Recheck
Check your pockets, purse, bag, etc. for the thing that you’ve lost. I don’t actually need to write this, because you’re going to do this naturally, and anyone you’re with will tell you to do the same.
Think of when you saw it last and what you were
Again, this is going to be natural instinct. I find it helps to close my eyes for a few seconds because it helps me slow down and focus on where I was (because if I’ve lost something it was likely because I was in a rush).
Make quick contact
If you have a cellphone on you, then call the restaurant where you were at, the taxi company that dropped you off, the airport lost and found, speak to an agent from the airplane you just go off on, go speak to the man at the booth at your public transit station, and call the lost and found phone number, the community centre that you were working out at, the hotel, and just ask. If who you’re talking to tells you ‘No, no one has turned anything in‘, ask if they will take your phone number just in case anyone does turn it in.
If the item lost is a cellphone itself, then borrow someone’s phone and call yourself. Sometimes the person who found it will answer it. This is also the time, that you use things such as “Where is my iPhone” or “Where is my Android” to help you. If you do have a cellphone, hopefully you have turned on your location servies.
Retrace those steps
Even though you have called some of these places, many places will be fairly busy, especially restaurants, where there is a high turnaround of customers. Go back to the table where you were seated at and politely ask the patrons sitting there if they spotted your lost item (yes I know that this is rather mortifying but, heck, you’re trying to find your stuff).
Call the taxi cab company and tell them where the taxi picked you up and where it dropped you off. Same goes with the public transit. Anything turned in will be noted by where it was found. Most places will let you know the best course of action (i.e. call tomorrow after the cleaning staff has handed everything in).
Minimizing your loss
So, you’ve retraced your steps and everyone has a your contact information where you can be reached at should your lost item turn up. Time has passed and this is the point in time where you use your computer and phone to help you gain information to minimize your losses.
- Cellphones – If you have a smartphone, make a list of the apps on your phone that have automatic sign-in and then go change your passwords for your apps online, such as your email inbox, Gmail, Facebook, your online banking, Evernote, etc.Call your cellphone company – get the information on what to do. Some mobile companies have an up to date list of calls that were made. Don’t just cut your phone off right away. Explain the situation to them and ask their advice on what they can do for you. Get the information and mull it over.
- Wallets – Make a list of all of the cards that were in your wallet. Go find your account statements or old receipts. Call your credit card company. Each credit card company has its own Lost and Stolen Cards phone number. Look them up on the Internet and call them. Call them even if you don’t have your card numbers on hand and they will look you up by name and ask you security questions to figure out who you are.
Credit card companies are able to look up the last time that it was used and you can let them know if it was yours or not.
- If the charges are yours, then you have hope! You can put a 48-hour block on the card. If you find it within 48-hours then you can call them and they will remove the block. If they don’t hear back from you then they will cancel and re-issue you a new card and send it out to you.
- If your cards were used, then tell them the charge isn’t your and they will give you the procedure on how to dispute the charges (which often is just verbal, followed by a form that you fill out and send in). You can go ahead and cancel all of your cards and have them reissued and sent out, and you’ll get them in 5-10 working days. Proceed to step 7.
Is it lost-lost? You have to surrender
This is the point where you have to sit quietly with yourself and your feelings. Obviously you didn’t mean to lose what you lost, so if you’re calling yourself stupid, then know that this doesn’t help at all. Be gentle with yourself. You have something more important to do now, which is to surrender. This means that you have to relinquish control, because at this point, your lost item might be gone forever and you have to accept this. So you can think about what it will mean to replace the item. Put this into perspective. It’s a pain in the ass to replace, but it’s not the end of the world.
Wallet – Here’s what you’re going to need to replace your ID and bank cards. I would replace my ATM card first, so that I can still buy groceries, followed by official government ID, followed by the non-essentials like your library card, costco cards, etc. You’ll generally three key pieces of ID that probably weren’t with your wallet:
- Some kind of photo ID (A citizenship card or a passport)
- A bill that has your address on it. (Cellphone bill, Utility bill)
- – Your Social Insurance Card or Social Security Card
– Your birth certificate
Cellphone – If this is a cellphone, put together contact information for all of your friends. The nice thing about our times is that you can email everyone or get on social media to get everyone’s phone number again. Know that anyone that you call regularly will call you back once you get your new phone
You can still have hope and follow Up
Here’s the magic part. Hope. A lot of people give up too easily when they have lost something. You must surrender, yes, but then, see if it turned up. Call or pass by all of the places that you were when you lost the item. Sometimes I have gotten my thing back on the 3rd day, but I still got it back.