Nina L. is a retired banker who lives in Staten Island, NY.
One day, Nina visited a Citibank branch to withdraw some cash.
A woman followed her inside the bank. The woman watched Nina punch in her PIN at the ATM and was able to see exactly what the PIN was.
As Nina left the bank another female stopped her and asked if she could break a $20 bill. Nina helped the woman by giving her two ten-dollar bills.
About 30 minutes later, Nina was at the pharmacy when she realized her debit card was gone.
The woman at the bank had stolen it. And in the 30 minutes since the card was stolen, the thieves had pilfered $10,000.
They took $1,000 from an ATM at the same branch, $3,800 from a different location, $4,700 from another teller, and $500 from another ATM.
Nina called the police and submitted fraud claims with Citibank. But the bank initially only returned $500.
“I have the letters of denial that they were not giving me my money back, I’m devastated by all this, I said I’m an ex-employee,” Nina said.
Anytime you are at the ATM or bank branch you need to be aware of anyone around you.
If someone tries to ask you a question or distract you, be very careful and hold onto your things.
Also, many ATMs have mirrors so you can see if anyone is standing behind or too close to you.
Sadly, banks usually won’t cover losses if they think the customer enabled the fraud in any way.
Unsurprisingly, these types of crimes seem to be increasing, especially in big cities. And it’s estimated that 1,000 wallets or purses are stolen every two minutes in the U.S.
With the sharp rise in this (and other) crimes, here are a few things you should do if your wallet or purse is stolen.
Contact all banking:
You need to immediately contact your bank if your wallet or purse is stolen.
Some banks have policies that stolen cards must be reported within 48 hours, so don’t wait.
As soon as you are done reporting the theft to your banks and credit card companies, you should also contact the local police department.
Your bank might ask for a case number if there are fraudulent purchases made with your cards.
Change your passwords:
These days, so many bank and credit card accounts are managed online.
So, if your wallet or purse is stolen you want to change the passwords for these accounts right away.
The thief will know where you bank and could try to access your online accounts.
If they have your driver’s license, they might be able to convince the bank they’re “you,” and could get your password changed.
Also, make sure you have two-factor authentication set up for your online accounts.
In the past, when a wallet was stolen, the last thing you would worry about is online accounts.
But these days, your physical cards go hand in hand with online banking, so make sure your online accounts are secure.
Freeze your credit:
With your driver’s license, a thief has a lot of information about you and could try to apply for credit.
So, if you don’t have a credit freeze with the three major bureaus you should do it right away.
Putting a credit freeze in place with Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax will block lenders and creditors from accessing your credit report.
They will typically issue you a PIN that you would need to use to remove the credit freeze.
Or they will make you go through a lengthy process with many questions that only you would know the answer to.
Get a copy of your credit report:
Most thieves will act quickly with a stolen wallet or purse, stealing as much as possible before the victim either realizes they’ve been robbed, or has a chance to report it.
So, once you have done the previous steps you should obtain a copy of your credit report.
It should be up to date and tell you if there have been recent credit checks or new accounts opened.
Check your credit report often along with your regular banking statements (such as debit and credit cards).
You can review your banking statements online whenever you want, and you should plan to do it once a day if your wallet or purse have recently been stolen.
This way, you can catch the fraud right away and notify the bank, and you have a better chance of getting your funds returned.
Having your purse or wallet stolen is stressful. If it happens to you, take these steps right away so you can stop the fraudulent activity.