Friday, November 14, 2008

Hard Lessons and the Bright Side

We live in what we consider a bit of a "rural" area, not a lot of traffic and generally considered a safe neighborhood. Yesterday morning I got in to my car to go to work and noticed that we forgot to close the garage door the night before. I then noticed that my glove box was open, which was strange because nothing but the owner's manual for my car and the car registration are in there.

I reached for my cell phone and it hit me then - my purse was gone along with my cell phone and the charger for my phone! It appears someone snuck into our garage, where my car was parked and simply took my purse and cell phone out of the car, which, since it was in my garage, was not locked.

I spent the morning racking my brain, trying to recall what was in my wallet and spent most of the day calling the bank and few credit card companies. I kept thinking to myself, it's a good thing I only keep a small number of credit cards in my wallet.

The lessons I learned:
1)Take my purse into the house at night.

2)Make sure garage door is closed and doors locked at night - my husband and I have both been lulled into a false sense of security in our neighborhood. We are also going to start locking our mailbox.

3)Photo copy of all the credit cards you have in your wallet - update this periodically and keep in a safe place. I plan to keep this in my office from now on. It would have been so much easier to have the actual list than trying to rely on my memory for who to call.

4)You can sign up for a Fraud Alert to be placed on your credit reports for free for 90 days. You only need to notify one credit reporting agency and they will notify the other 2. Go online to annualcreditreport.com for more information.

The Bright Sides:
1) Register your Starbucks Card. I use a Starbucks Gift card to keep me from overspending at the coffee mecca. I load a certain un-named amount on it every month to keep my budget in line. I also registered it through the website. I called them to report it stolen. They determined that it was used yesterday morning and told me the location, which made me feel better that these theives do not likely live in my neighborhood. They de-activated the old card and are issuing me a new card with the balance left on it after the thief used it.

2) There are honest people out there. A woman very near our neighborhood called yesterday afternoon because she found my purse and wallet in her driveway. It seems the thief took what he/she wanted and just dumped my purse. Luckily, my driver license was still in my wallet. Most of the other important items were missing but I'd already canceled them all anyway.

I am thankful that the thieves did not get much, nothing irreplaceable and we learned some lessons that will hopefully protect us from this happening again.

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Seattle Area, Washington - the state
I am an attorney, working mom of 3, who loves a bargain, a great deal and freebies. Who doesn't want the best, for less? Come here to see my triumphs and budget tribulations, good deals and my take on what the good life can mean...