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This is a Public Service Announcement

I lost my wallet! Spoiler: I got it back again. There it is, right there in the picture. I couldn’t bear to keep you guys in suspense.

Apparently, it fell out of my bag at the checkout line at Aldi yesterday. Which is in a wretched neighborhood. I was sweating this one. There are people in that supermarket for whom the bit of cash in my wallet would make all the difference this week.

But no. Staff had it and I got it back, with every penny.

But not until this morning, after I had cancelled all my credit cards. Count ’em: five.

I only use two of them, one credit and one debit. First lesson: maybe not carry all of them around, or even cancel a few. It’s a holdover from the days I tried to get as many lines of credit as possible to give myself a paper existence in a foreign country. At least I wasn’t carrying my passport around — I used to!

Second lesson: better records. I was fairly good about writing down the pertinent information and the process of contacting the banks is pretty easy (exception: boo Sainsbury’s Mastercard!), but it would have been even more painless if I had done something like photocopy the fronts and backs.

Third: I didn’t keep track of all the places online that I use them. The ones that I allow to keep the number, I mean. There’s Amazon, Ebay and PayPal and the rest…well, we’ll find out. And I’ll write it down this time.

Meanwhile, no tchotchkes for weasel 🙁


Comment from Janna
Time: March 6, 2019, 10:02 pm

I only carry the card I’m gonna use that day (you never know if your car is gonna commit suicide) and my debit card. Making a copy of the front and back of the cards is a VERY good idea.

Comment from thefritz
Time: March 6, 2019, 10:45 pm

Glad you got your wallet back and really glad to hear the fine Aldi folks returned it intact. My daughter is a District Manager for Aldi in Nashville and I will share that story with her next weekend when I go for a visit.

Comment from Anonymous
Time: March 6, 2019, 11:42 pm

What I learned from this?

YOUR Aldi has tchotchkes!

Glad you got your wallet back – it’s terrifying isn’t it.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: March 7, 2019, 12:39 am

Happy to learn that you got your wallet and contents back safe and sound. I lost my wallet the day before we left for a trip to the U.K. and it was a nightmare.

JavaMan uses an app on his cell phone that notifies him every time we use our credit cards. He and I have bank debit cards, and we each carry one credit card, but not the same credit card. The “purchase” jingle is almost instantaneous so I can’t go shopping willy-nilly without getting caught 😉 My credit card number has been stolen twice, but he caught it within a few minutes so no damage. (This girl was NOT downloading iTunes.)

Yes, photocopying your credit cards is fast and easy. But copy all the documents in your wallet. Or take a happy snap with your cell phone, and you can hide the photos behind a password. I have photos of my car and car tags, insurance and registration, and VIN, too. Same for JavaMan’s car.

Comment from p2
Time: March 7, 2019, 1:56 am

i’ve thrown everything onto an innocuous looking plain jane thumb drive as a backup. happy snaps are great until you lose your phone, or it dies….or some svoundrel makes off with it. paper copies look just like paper copies and if they’re even readable, they’re as good as having the actual card. If you’re not home when I break in (probable) you’ll most likely have the cards with you ( given). if i snatch the copies, i can go shopping online for a while before you realize i’ve got them.
you can drop the thumb drive in a waterproof container made for cards and such for when your at the beach in Minorca, drop a couple 50p pieces in for weight and drop it into the loo tank.
i’ve got everything on there…. wills, account info, safe combo copies of anything important. it’s password protected and encrypted and the few folks who know to come looking if something bad happens to me know
where it is.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: March 7, 2019, 2:12 am

Some issuing banks will suspend a card feared lost/stolen so that if it turns up again it can be reactivated without all the hassles of getting a new card/number. It depends on the issuer, though, and not Visa or MC or AmEx, etc., and not all banks will do it. Some go straight to permanently deactivating that account number and issuing a new card which can take a week or two to arrive. If you whine (whinge) politely they might expedite the new one.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: March 7, 2019, 9:50 am

Ironically, just a few days ago I saw an ad for a bank in the UK which will let you instantly suspend your cards via an ap and then reinstate them when you find them again down the back of the sofa half an hour later.

Sadly, we aren’t with that bank.

Thanks for the ideas. I’m going to follow Deborah’s smartphone suggestion today 🙂

Comment from Timothy S. Carlson
Time: March 7, 2019, 12:10 pm

I have my ATM card and a credit card. And my Alien Registration Card (actually, a reasonable facsimile). And my PWD card. The rest is junk. I really do need to clean out my wallet.

I have a chain on mine – goes from the wallet, around my hip, and clips to a belt loop in front. With my keys. I have (knock on wood and say a prayer) never lost or even misplaced my wallet. Thank God for that.

In bad neighborhoods (Divisoria or Quiapo in Manila, for example) I put my wallet in my front pocket and put NOTHING in my back pockets. Pickpockets are bold and plentiful here in the islands. At one time I did have a kid pull out my wallet and try to slip away with it, but the chain thwarted him. He got a resounding rap to his forehead from my cane for his effort and some REALLY LOUD American swearing aimed in his direction, which seemed to scare him more than the rap.

You really should close out the credit cards you really don’t need. Or at least not carry them around. How is credit card fraud in the UK?

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: March 7, 2019, 12:36 pm

Uncle B.
Our bank let’s you shut off a particular card, and my notifications that I’m spending hit my phone almost as soon as the register clerk has printed the receipt.

All done because a swipe copy thief waiter hit our work group at lunch and bagged everyone’s card number.

Our biggest “stolen” account/card adventure was when “we” bought 2 used cars in Colorado while not being in Colorado.
The 2nd best, once again demonstrating our omnipresence, was being in Flower Mound Texas eating a burger while we were in a small town just outside of Milan Italy buying some very expensive stereo and video equipment.

We often wish we could go to the places our cards get to go, except downtown Dallas.

Comment from OldFert
Time: March 7, 2019, 8:37 pm

This cellphone app that lets you know when your card is used — suggestions?

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: March 7, 2019, 9:16 pm

CC fraud is as bad here as anywhere but the only time I’ve had my card cloned was at a filling station. There was an epidemic of that a few years ago and the stations were always manned by Asians. Apparently the money was being filtered out to terrorists – the Tamil Tigers, from memory.

ISTR a phonecall from a card company a decade or so back which was a little like Durnedyankee’s – apparently I was bilocated a few thousand miles away buying something exotic. I’d probably have taken the swap at the time.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: March 8, 2019, 9:57 pm

So what are the UK protections for credit vs. debit? This side of the Pond, you have very limited responsibility for credit card fraud, as long as you give the appearance of notifying them as soon as you suspect a problem. I think the legal limit is $50, and most banks seem to even waive that. Debit, on the other hand, has very limited – if any – protection.

And it also is not generally a good idea to let ANY online retailer keep your banking info. Their protection quality tends to leave something to be desired. If you have a secure OS on your computer, keep it updated, and have a reasonably secure password for login, storing financial information THERE can be reasonable. But if you think that Windows or Apple are secure, well. And also note there is a new Intel exploit called Spoiler, which takes up where Spectre left off at the end of 2017. Intel only, which includes any Microsoft or recent Apple computer not running an AMD processor. Have not heard if it touches -nix as well. And as with Spectre, my bet is that this one is ALSO due to a backdoor that Intel provided the FedPigs which has escaped into the open, probably enriching some FedPig significantly in the process.

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