New Years day was nice and quiet for my family. We relaxed and planned to go to the gym for the evening. ( Yes, I am one of the 38% of Americans that choose to lose weight as a resolution!And husband was
mean nice enough to get me a membership to join him when he goes.)
I was at the gym for about 90 minutes and decided to go run an errand while my husband finished playing ball. The parking lot was huge and scary behind the gym, and I jogged the last few feet to jump in the truck. And when I shut the door.....the glass in the back window crumbled. I knew right away that I had made a grave error.....a grave error of leaving my purse in there while I worked out. Even though I partially shoved it under my seat, they knew what they were looking for, and broke the window to get it. I have never had my purse or wallet stolen! I felt totally violated! Arrgh!! Welcome to Fresno!
How you respond the next few moments will determine how much damage the thieves do. I knew enough that the thieves would try to use my debit cards first. And they did. Within minutes, they were at a nearby gas station trying to use my debit card. Thankfully, I had immediately called the bank, (as my husband was calling the police), and headed them off at the pass.
The last few days I have spent a lot of time protecting myself from future problems. I had never had this happen to me and I learned a lot trying to make sure the least amount of damage was done. I know that there are many readers that may not know what to do either. Here is some important tips I gathered that you can do if this horrible deed happens to you:
1. File a report with the police immediately. Get a copy of the report in case your bank, credit card company or insurance company needs proof of crime.
The lovely city I live in requires that you file the report online. I guess it happens so much here, they don't come out unless you are bleeding and dieing. And thank God I wasn't doing either! It was fine, because it gave me a chance to get my thoughts together and make a list of all of the items that were in my purse. Which was A LOT! I carried my life in there!
2. Cancel each debit and credit card. Get new cards with new numbers.
It is very important that you do this right away. Like I said before, they immediately used my debit cards as credit. My bank fraud department would have credited the charges to me right away, but I had great satisfaction knowing they were going to get a decline and not merchandise.
3. Report missing cards to all of the major credit reporting agencies:
UPDATE 1/10/13: I am so glad I did this!! I got a phone call today from a credit card company. They had tried to open a card and the fraud alert stopped the process and they immediately called!
Now that the thieves have your personal information, it important to protect yourself from credit and identity theft. By letting the credit bureaus put a fraud alert, it will protect you the next few months to come. I am even going to take it a step further and do "Life Lock". They will monitor my credit the next few months so that I know if anymone tries to use my name or social security number.
4. Report the loss to you bank. If any information about your bank accounts was present in your wallet or purse ( such as a check book or deposit slip) then cancel checking and saving accounts and open new ones and stop payment on outstanding checks.
This is probably up to each person's bank. My bank did not have me open a new account. They just stopped checks and put a fraud alert on the account.
5. Call your utilities and let them know that your identification has been stolen and someone may try to open an account using your identification.
6. Report your missing drivers license to the DMV. Get a new driver's license with the DMV.
This is what freaks me out the most; that someone has my drivers license AND social security card. I pretty much set myself up for identity theft. PLEASE don't carry your social security card OR your childs in your wallet. It was seriously the most stupidest thing I have done.
7. If your keys were taken, change the locks on your home. Remember, they now know where you live. Don't give the thieves access to even more personal property and information.
I was very fortunate that I took my phone and keys inside the gym with me. I didn't have to deal with this, but it happens and has to be mentioned. Also, because I just moved to this city, my old address was on my checks and license. That was a relief.
8. Lastly, notify your insurance company and determine if it will be worth it claiming it on your policy.
In our particular situation, our insurance would have covered the broken window, but the window was cheaper then my deductible. I chose to pay for the window, rather then claiming it and possibly having my insurance go up. The contents are not covered by your car insurance. Either home owner's or renter's insurance covers that. Once again you will have to determine if it is cost effective for your situation.
I know now that you should never leave your purse or any valuables in your car. ( Keep it out of view, like in your trunk) I hope this never happens to any of you, but if it does, you now know what to do to protect yourself from future problems.
Now that things are getting back to normal around here.....I have a lot future posts coming up!!
See you soon!