Monday, February 11, 2008

Money Monday - Secure Your Identity

I know we're supposed to be talking about budgeting today, but due to the happenings of today, I have changed our topic to identity theft.

Either I have completely misplaced my brain today OR my wallet was stolen for the 2nd time in 3 years. Although the first scenario is highly likely on any given day, I'm still going with the second one.

I was shopping at Meijer this evening. For some reason, all the time I was shopping I kept thinking about my purse. (Perhaps I should have listened to this intuition). While I was standing in line, I considered the possibility of the woman behind me stealing my wallet when I turned my back to pull my groceries out of the cart. But she was on the phone. I even considered the possibility that talking on the phone would be a great intentional distraction. Nevertheless, I left my purse sitting in the cart. (I know...I'm an idiot).

After I had loaded all of my groceries, clothes, diapers, etc onto the belt, I went to grab my wallet. NOT THERE. Great. Did I leave it at home? I never leave my wallet at home. Highly unlikely. Did it fall out in the van? I'm pretty sure it was zipped shut. I eyed the lady behind me who seemed to have no interest in the fact that my wallet was missing.

I explained to the clerk that I could not find my wallet, loaded everything back into my cart, and went out to check the van. Not there. Called my husband and had him check at home. Not there either.

I will not draw out the rest of the story BUT - despite the efforts made by the security team at Meijer (Thanks, by the way!), I still believe the woman behind me in line stole my wallet. But what was I really going to do? "Hey, didn't happen to steal my wallet just now, did you?" isn't exactly an ice-breaker if you know what I mean.

The last time my wallet was stolen, I made the mistake of thinking I must have just misplaced it and waited to call my credit card companies until there was hundreds of dollars in charges (only 2 hours later). So this time, I called my bank immediately.

On the upside of things, I only had my debit card as I no longer carry credit cards. On the downside, I had about $80 in cash in my wallet. (Yeah - thanks, Dave Ramsey!) That was the rest of this month's grocery money as well as a doctor's office copay for this month. I do understand that carrying cash is safer in some ways. On the other hand, I sure wish I hadn't had any on me tonight.

At any rate, my wallet is gone and - unless it suddenly shows up - I am pretty upset that I didn't pay more attention to my intuition this evening.

I always thought identity theft protection was kind of a rip-off, but I'm starting to question my thinking now. They handle all of the paperwork for you. And the paperwork is the WORST part.

Some things I am thankful for: I did not have my social security card in my wallet (like I did last time). I have no credit cards in there. I JUST gave my husband $100 in cash last night for this month's gas budget, so that wasn't in my wallet. (Just the OTHER $80 - lol). I have a state ID card, so I won't have to go through so much of a hassle to get another license (which, by the way, I JUST got renewed to the tune of $40).

Downers: My T.G.I. Friday's card has one more free appetizer on it. Now gone. My CVS Extra Care Bucks were in my wallet (because there's a higher likelihood that I will forget my coupon book in a cart than there is that my wallet will get stolen...again - HA!). My checkbook ledger for most of last year is now gone. (I like to look back and see how far we've come). I have to go through the hassle of filing a police report. I have to find a way to get to the license branch to renew my license during business hours - and without driving there.

I guess the purpose of this post is just to encourage you to find ways to secure your identity. NEVER carry your social security card. Have a state ID card in case your license is lost or stolen. It's SO much less of a hassle. Consider getting Idenity Theft Protection - it's extremely inexpensive. Be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to your intuition. Make a copy (front and back) of all cards that you carry with you so you have phone numbers to cancel/reorder/replace in the event of a lost/stolen wallet. (This was a LIFESAVER for me the last time my wallet was stolen!)

Do you have other ideas for how to protect your identity? I'd love to hear what you and your family have done to protect yourselves from the identity predators of the world.

I will return to our topic of budgeting next Monday when all of this has cooled over in my head.


JimmieFan48 said...

O my goodness I'm so sorry to hear that..

Lindsey from DR group on Cafe mom!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Why was my post removed?

FLUUD7 said...

Well, I don't know who you are and your post looked like spam.

Anonymous said...

How is giving crime statistics comparing Eau Claire and Indianapolis spam?

FLUUD7 said...

Ok, Tommy. Stats are not a real comment. And I'm not moving back. Get over it.