Last Friday my wife had her wallet stolen from her shopping cart. Her wallet was in one of those large, heavy purses that women commonly carry today. Naturally the purse was unzipped.
During her shopping she was distracted for several minutes by a seemingly friendly fellow shopper asking her questions about a product. When she went to check out she discovered her wallet missing, but thought she might have left it home or in the car. After returning home and fruitlessly searching for the wallet, she returned to the stores she had visited; they did not have the missing wallet.
Just 40 minutes after noticing the missing wallet, we received a phone call from American Express advising us that there was a potential fraud on the card. Over $4500 had been charged on the card at Apple and Best Buy!
What a mess this became to notify and card issuers and cancel the cards; to notify the police and fill out the crime reports, and to notify the credit agencies to alert them of a possible fraud and to lock our accounts against future credit card applications.
In addition, the thieves now had our home address, social security number, medical cards, and driver’s license, making us an ideal candidate for identity theft.
So in addition to the above we now have to sign up for identity theft protection for both of us.
Here is my advice as to how to prevent or ease this process for you in the future:
- Keep copies of the front and back of all your credit cards
- Sign the back of all credit cards immediately
- Never put your wallet or purse in a shopping cart; instead keep it tucked under your arm
- Keep copies of your drivers license at home
- Beware friendly strangers while shopping
Be alert, be aware, and be prepared!