If you find yourself without a purse then I suggest the following;
- 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.
- Check around you/under tables etc.
- Carefully think about the last time you had/used the item and think if it was possible you left it there.
- At this point I queried the lost property of the location I was at.
- 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.
- 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 Banks normally have 24/7 helplines to report lost/stolen cards and will liaise with the police if money has been withdrawn.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.
- 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?
- Check with your insurance company as items may be covered by them for replacement costs.
- 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.
- 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).
- When you get home, go over the list of items that are missing and the circumstances- double check and write down any additional details.
- Have food- especially something sugary to help combat the shock/loss of adrenaline. A small glass of wine might help.
- Go over the list of missing items and circumstances- it's amazing what you remember given a little rest and time.
- 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.
- 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
|Foldable handbag hook (similar on ebay HERE)|
- Empty your purse regularly. Do not carry around lots of cash or sentimental items.
- Make sure your bag does up securely and easily. Carry it in front of you if possible- especially in crowded areas.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Chain your purse to your bag- literally. Or use a keyring that makes noise if someone picks it up.
- Never leave valuable items in outside pockets, on tops of bags, in reach on anyone on tables or under tables.
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!