Lessons learnt from having my wallet stolen

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As I’m currently away (actually just got back but posting abroad proved something of a problem) this is one of those personal experience types of post, normal posting will resume tomorrow (unless Scott has something else planned).

At the moment I’m sat in a café in Brazil having just enjoyed my first Brazilian pizza but this weekend so nearly didn’t happen. I was due to catch the train first thing Friday to take me to London in plenty of time for my flight to Brazil. However between getting out of the taxi and the 2 minute stroll to the ticket machine I managed to get my wallet stolen.

I spent the next 5 minutes retracing my steps and triple checking all pockets, to no avail. I’m in the fortunate position that one of my credit cards comes with a free concierge service so I was able to call them and explain the situation and see what they could do.

My girlfriend lovingly refers to my credit card as “the ponce card” but the service really did come into it’s own. I made the one call and they organised the cancellation of all my cards, they informed the police and contacted various lost property centres. They sorted out new train tickets for me. They can normally get a replacement card to you within 24 hours but as I was off to Brazil and it’s a high risk country they couldn’t do that so instead they texted me directions to the nearest bank so that I could get my hands on some cash as the 6 pounds I had in my pocket wasn’t going to get me very far. Finally they sorted me out access to the premium lounge at Heathrow as that card has also been in my wallet.

Generally when I go away I monitor my email daily via my mobile phone and if I get the opportunity I’ll pop into an Internet café to check sites and stats. Though I can generally leave my sites to run themselves. One thing that I’ve learnt from this experience is that I need a separate debit or credit card for Internet payments, as one of the cards that was stolen and cancelled is used to pay for hosting which if that fails could mean goodbye sites.

So when it comes to credit cards I’d suggest having one that you only use for Internet purchases and keeping it locked away at home. Also if you have the opportunity to grab a “ponce card” with a concierge service I can highly recommend it (even if the other half calls it poncey).

This post was meant to go up on Monday but I find some email blackspot that day and had to leave it until I got back. On my return last night it seemed like my birthday as the doormat was covered in cards of the plastic variety 🙂 .

About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.

Comments

  1. I will be in Brazil in a few weeks, unfortunately only in the airport as we refuel there on our way to the Falklands Islands with SAMA 82 for the 25th anniversary pilgrimage. Then I will be back in the carribean in Dec on my Hols in DR. Great Blog.

  2. Bummer about the wallet, very good suggestion about using a separate card to pay for hosting expenses etc…

  3. Thanks for sharing, those are very useful tips. You could also try having most of the internet expenses paid through Paypal if possible.

  4. Thanks for sharing your personal experience

    This tips would prove useful one day.

    Thanks Al

  5. I knew about keeping two separate cards – one for me and one for the person traveling with me. That way if one of us looses our stuff and cancels the cards, the other one is still good to go (maybe I watched Lampon’s notational vacation too many times). But as yet had not considered the separation of internet and physical accounts. Great posting and point well taken.

  6. That’s bad; however you are fortunate that your credit card comes with such a good service.

    As for hosting, you might want to use a personal paypal account for it. That’s what I normally use and it kind of ensures that I don’t have to give out my credit card information to hosting provider (not that I am paranoid about that or anything) and at the same time it ensures that my hosting account is not dependent upon a credit card.

  7. Makes me think back to when I was a lot younger & within a few minutes of arriving in amsterdam my passport was stolen at the train station.

  8. I never had anything stolen and i can’t really understand how can someone get your wallet? I usually keep it in my jacket, in the interior pocket. A thief should be really really good to be able to snatch it from there…

    As for the card for Internet purchases, i do have one for exactly this purpose. And i don’t keep too much money on it? Why? cause I’m afraid of hackers :))

  9. The experience kind of sucks. Nonetheless, it’s great to know that some credit card companies readily come into play when they feel you are genuinely in serious trouble.

    Unfortunately, there are more things to keep in a wallet than just credit cards and cash. It could be personal identity cards, driving license and some other stuffs. Hence, I can feel it can be really frustrating whenever such cases happen.

    Anyway, hope it did not dampen your trip to Brazil. Cheers!

  10. If you think getting your wallet stolen is a bad experience, it could get worse at some point if you use internet cafe’s to check your site’s stats.

    You do need to login right?

    And if you check your email you need to login into something personal once more.

    My advice is to never, ever use the Internet to login to personal accounts from a computer that is not your own, a trusted friend is another thing, but Internet cafe’s is just waiting for a disaster to happen.

    Virtually all these computers are trojaned and in some cases by the Internet Cafe computer administrators them self.

    2 cents

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