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What to Do If Your Car Keys Are Stolen:

Getting locked out of your car can be a very stressful situation. To add to the problem, losing your only set of keys is much worse. The first thing you should remember in such a situation is not to panic. It might seem impossible at that moment, but there are usually options available for getting back inside your car, and we will discuss them below.

Here are what to do if your car keys are stolen.

  1. Don’t panic. There are things you can do to address the situation.

The first step is to remain calm and take inventory of your options. The chances are that if your car keys were stolen, other valuables might be missing as well, like wallets or cellphones, but don’t allow yourself to get sidetracked with a search for those items at this time. Your top priority is getting a hold of a locksmith and changing your locks.

  1. Call the police and file a report

Before you call anyone else, the next thing you should do is contact the police department’s non-emergency line and explain what happened. Police departments recommend filing a report even if nothing was taken out of the car. That way, if your car keys are used to steal other cars, having a police report on file will help with the investigation process.

  1. Call a locksmith

If anything was taken from your vehicle, including the ignition key itself or one that opened the door — call a locksmith immediately. If possible, have someone stay at the scene while you’re waiting for them to arrive in case they try to get into your car again before they can be prevented from doing so by fresh locks.

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4 . Contact your insurance company

Be sure to contact your auto insurance agent right away and explain what happened. Many policies cover replacement keys for stolen vehicles up to 24 hours after reporting an incident, but only those who report it immediately. Keep in mind that your premiums may be affected as well as a result of the claim.

  1. Check credit reports for signs of identity theft

It’s possible that whoever stole your car key also got hold of other information about you — like social security numbers or banking data and took advantage of those elements. For this reason, it’s important to check with all three credit reporting agencies to see if any suspicious activity has been reported on your behalf.

  1. Change locks on home and office, too

As a precautionary measure, it’s important to change the locks on any door with the same key as your car. If not, you may find yourself in an unsafe situation since it’s possible for someone who already knows where you live or work to enter your home or office without setting off security alarms.

  1. Get new keys

If your home and workplace use the same type of key as your vehicle does — either because they’re old or were duplicated by the same locksmith at some point — get new ones made immediately. Request that these new keys bear different numbers than those that came with your previous set of car keys, so if burglars do come across them, they won’t know which ones can be used to access your home and office.

  1. Be prepared for a higher cost than you expected

Replacing car keys is no small matter, as the metal used to make them alone can be very expensive. If your car was stolen with the key inside or cannot now fit into your ignition switch, then the locksmith may need to drill out and replace it completely, which will lead to even more expensive.

  1. Call cell phone providers

Notify all your mobile service providers before canceling any accounts, so they stop billing for services you don’t receive anymore. Sometimes thieves look through lost or stolen phones for contact information — including bank account numbers and other personal data assuming that people would rather cancel their credit cards or other lines of service than report a phone as lost or stolen.

  1. Be careful about online sales

If you’ve been the victim of identity theft, do not use your social security number to create any new accounts — even if they’re free. Use your current address and employment information instead so that criminals won’t have access to it anymore. Also, be careful when selling items online, especially if you don’t know the buyer well. If possible, to do so safely, meet in person for transactions whenever possible – and consider using a different email address from your one so thieves can’t contact you directly via email under pretenses.

  1. Take all necessary precautions

Finally, take precautions as needed based on your risk factors. This might mean keeping a low profile on social media by changing privacy settings, using antivirus software and installing updates when they become available or seeking advice from law enforcement about how to stay safe in your area.

12 . Make copies of the police report

If you do catch someone trying to break into your car and call 911, make sure you request a copy of the report for insurance purposes. Canceling credit cards and other accounts that may be compromised is easier when you have proof of identity theft in writing.

13 . Create an ID Theft Affidavit.

Finally, if you don’t already have one (or if yours has expired), consider visiting the FTC’s IdentityTheft.gov website to create an identity theft affidavit. This form will help you organize the details of your case and notify creditors that you’re a victim of identity theft, which can expedite some claims and investigation processes through the authorities.

14 . Watch for signs of ID Theft

This incident should serve as a lesson about how important it is to monitor your financial accounts regularly. Check both your credit report and bank statement several times per week, so you know if any new activity takes place, especially on items such as cell phone service providers or credit cards.

If this has happened to someone you know, be sure they have the same information — or at least warn them of the risk before anything happens without them knowing. In some cases, you might need to contact the police on their behalf and help them fight identity theft.

January 22, 2022
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