Sunday, 17 March 2013

What to do if your purse is stolen...

....Sad to say this happened to me this week.  When I (eventually) arrived home I was quick to google and search for advice, and didn't find too much.  I thought I would share my experience and tips in the hope it will help someone else.  It's an awful thing to go though and left me quite shaken.  I also feel quite violated that someone somewhere deems it their right to have my money and things that I have worked very hard for.  It's not your right.  Everyone has to work hard to get money and you Mr. (or Mrs) thief are no different (although your actions clearly show you think you are entitled to what others work hard for).

Through your actions in broad daylight I lost work, was stranded hours from home with no money, no transport, no travel pass, no ID, no store cards- plus the loss of a few special mementos (and work receipts I needed to claim back).  I still had to cancel everything and have got bills worth far much more than the cash you stole from my purse (thankfully there was very little cash in there).  I am also very twitchy about being out on my own.  Not that you'll care about that if you are brazen enough to steal.

If you find yourself without a purse then I suggest the following;
  1. Keep Calm- you don't want to have other items stolen as you are searching for an item which may or may not be lost.  Carefully double check all bags and pockets just to make sure.  It's easy to panic and not see what is in front of your nose.  Look around to see if anyone is moving away from you holding your possessions.  Log any descriptions of anyone suspicious who is close to you.
  2. Check around you/under tables etc.
  3. Carefully think about the last time you had/used the item and think if it was possible you left it there.
  4. At this point I queried the lost property of the location I was at.
  5. Go to the Police.  They will log your item as missing.  If you have a bit of evidence or witnesses they will log the item as stolen.  If not they will mark it as lost.  They will take a statement and issue you with a crime number/lost property number.
  6. If you have not done this already make a list of all the items in your purse and then cancel all of them.  Banks normally have 24/7 helplines to report lost/stolen cards and will liaise with the police if money has been withdrawn.  Some banks will give you a small amount of money to help tide you over.  Some forms of ID do not require you to notify the issuing body, however you will have to order a new one.
  7. Make a list of the circumstances- where were you?  What were you wearing?  What were you carrying?  Where had you been?  Any suspicious people near you?  Any odd distractions/people bumping into you?  What time was it?
  8. Check with your insurance company as items may be covered by them for replacement costs.
  9. If you are worried about Identity Fraud it's worth having a look at http://www.cifas.org.uk/ I have not used them but several people have mentioned this service to me.
  10. If you are stuck travel wise then don't forget to mention this to the police.  I was very lucky that the train companies were very understanding (and having the crime report/number on me helped).
  11. When you get home, go over the list of items that are missing and the circumstances- double check and write down any additional details.  
  12. Have food- especially something sugary to help combat the shock/loss of adrenaline.  A small glass of wine might help.
Subsequent Days
  1. Go over the list of missing items and circumstances- it's amazing what you remember given a little rest and time.
  2. Ring lost property again- most thieves will grab the purse, go into a toilet, empty the cash/untraceable items and dump the purse in the bin/over a wall etc.  Hopefully someone will hand it in.
  3. Be very wary of any phone calls- especially if your bank cards are stolen.  Any bank calls should be able to identify themselves sufficiently.  However NEVER give out your PIN.  If in doubt hang up and ring your bank directly or pop into the branch.
    Security gadgets: A noisy coloured thief alert bell keyring £1.50 HERE
Prevention Tips
Foldable handbag hook (similar on ebay HERE)
  1. Empty your purse regularly.  Do not carry around lots of cash or sentimental items. 
  2. Make sure your bag does up securely and easily.  Carry it in front of you if possible- especially in crowded areas.
  3. Do not advertise how much cash you have when paying for items.  Do not feel pressured to leave the checkout when paying for items until your purse and bag are both secure.
  4. If you carry ID/important items, make sure you have a photocopy at home in a secure place. (Or better still, carry the photocopy only).
  5. Keep a record of your bank telephone numbers on your phone/in your diary/in your bag.  You never know which one might get mislaid and when you might need to phone them.
  6. Keep a record of your store card/reward point card numbers at home.  You'd be amazed at how many lines I telephoned only to have them tell me I have no account with them... Yes I do.
  7. If possible, split your cash up so it is not all in your purse- perhaps put some in your makeup bag, an inside pocket etc.  Better still, carry very little cash.
  8. Chain your purse to your bag- literally.  Or use a keyring that makes noise if someone picks it up.
  9. Never leave valuable items in outside pockets, on tops of bags, in reach on anyone on tables or under tables.
So there you are, some bits of advice should you every go through the same thing (I really hope you never do) and some tips to help prevent some of you from going through the same thing.

Sorry it's not a particularly cheerful post- but hopefully a useful one.  I have been in two minds whether to share this experience or not but concluded that it might prevent or deal with a theft in the future.

I have to say a huge thank you to so many of you on twitter who were supportive, helpful and calming.  It's great to that twitter as a medium- especially when having a trying day.  If you are on there please say hello to me @computergirl200 !  Also Click HERE to see my last post about importing your blogger dashboard subscriptions into Bloglovin in a few easy clicks for when Goggle pull Google Reader (and potentially GFC) in July

Do you have an personal safety tips or advice for dealing with thefts of this nature?  Have you had anything stolen?  Any thoughts?
Discalimer: This post is not sponsored etc etc!

12 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, I am so sorry to hear you had to go through that. I have luckily never had this happen but I read through this whole post as you just never know and some people are so heartless.

    Fantastic post and I hope it helps others in the future :)

    Em

    x

    http://www.emsmixedbag.blogspot.co.uk

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. I always protect my bag well but they are getting more and more cunning. Taking advantage of people. No-one should have to go through it- I hope you never do. I hope you are well xx

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  2. I'm so sorry you've been through this. I've had my purse stolen twice and it's no fun at all. The kind of 'people' who rob others don't know if they're well off or poor, if the person they rob will be able to eat the week afterwards. They're the lowest of the low, absolute scum! Thanks for writing this post. x x

    Just me Leah

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    Replies
    1. Oh no. Poor you. I hope it never happens again to you again. Yes they don't care- awful people :( If they catch them they'll get a piece of my mind! xx

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  3. Sorry to hear you had your purse stolen, I can't imagine how horrible that is. I have lost mine before but was lucky that someone handed it in & so I got it back but that hour of not knowing where it was, was awful.
    Some really great tips. I definitely will use some of them.
    xx

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. You were lucky- but it's so good that there are good people out there who will hand things in. I hope these tips help prevent a thief xx

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  4. Oh honey, I'm so sorry this happened to you! I hope you'll recover some of the things soon! I know exactly how you feel, as I have had my house broken into (and the people who did it thought it'd be fun to smash everything and set fire to some things) and a month later, I had my purse, camera and mobile stolen from inside my bag, which I left unattended for 5 minutes at my desk at work. I cannot express how angry I was (and still am) at these people! They don't respect anything. :(

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    1. Oh Ria, that's awful. I hope they caught them. That must have been so stressful. Did you get anything back? It's awful that people like that exist xx

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  5. Oh my days that's terrible. I'm lucky to have never been through this and I'm already a very suspicious person and trust no one when out and about. I really hope you get your things back :( I can't imagine how violated you must feel xx

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    1. Thanks Tanya. Its sad not to trust anyone but you just cant be too careful these days. I hope they get caught xx

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  6. Great post Emma, I had my purse stolen last night and it was so useful to have a checklist to go through this morning. Right now I'm just hoping they've taken the cash and dumped my purse somewhere where it can be handed in. Replacing lost cards and IDs are such a hassle (not to mention costly)! Definitely going to use your noisy keyring idea in the future. Hope you've managed to get all your cards back by now x

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    1. Aw so sorry to hear that. I hope you get everything sorted quickly. It's a pain- and scary. I'm still sorting mine out :/ hope yours turns up. Glad this post was useful xx

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