There are many reasons why we have a driver’s license. Besides the fact that it’s illegal not to have one while driving, there are some helpful reasons for having one:
- It is your personal identification
- It identifies you as a licensed driver
- It allows emergency personal to identify you in the case of an accident
Since your driver’s license has so much personal information on it – your full name, address, and possibly your social security number – it is no wonder you go into a state of panic when you notice you have lost it.
Luckily for you, we have outlined some urgent steps to take once you notice you have lost your driver’s license.
1. Act Fast
The moment you lose your driver’s license, immediately retrace all of your steps. You never know, it may be in your pocket, the laundry, the washer or dryer, in between couch cushions, or even lodged somewhere in your car.
If you can’t find your license, it’s time to act as though it has been stolen so that you can protect yourself.
2. Figure Out What’s Missing
If you have lost your entire wallet, chances are a lot more than just your license is missing. It is critical you assess every item that is missing so that you can reduce the chances of falling victim to identity theft, a drained bank account, loans being taken out in your name, and new credit card accounts opening.
Make sure to notify your bank(s), credit card companies, health insurance providers, and the Social Security Administration depending on what was in your wallet when it went missing.
3. Report to the Authorities
If you file a police report, you start an effective paper trail should any suspicious activity occur. Make sure you get a copy of the report so you can show the bank or credit card company if need be.
In addition, it is important you contact an identity theft protection service if you are a member of one. They will be able to place fraud alerts on your accounts, freeze your credit report, and monitor your financial accounts.
Here are some things you can look for on your own to protect yourself, even after replacing your driver’s license:
- Regularly run background and credit checks on yourself to check for warrants or suspicious activity
- Monitor your credit score for any major, unexplained changes
- Answer phone numbers you may not recognize; they may be creditors looking for collection on an account related to your stolen identity
4. Get to the DMV and Replace It
Your next step in fixing the mishap regarding your missing driver’s license is to contact your local state DMV for replacement.
Here are some tips for your visit to the DMV that will make the process less stressful:
- Make note of the best and worst times to visit the DMV
- Determine whether you need to renew your license or apply for a duplicate
- Collect all required documents needed to prove your identification
- Bring payment for your new license
As a precaution, make sure you catch a ride to the DMV since you will no longer be a licensed driver. Being pulled over on your way to the DMV for a new driver’s license will make this situation far worse.
Altogether, losing your driver’s license is a major hassle. Fortunately, if you take a proactive approach the moment you notice it is missing, you are likely to reduce the amount of collateral damage that can result from a missing, or stolen, driver’s license.