Monday, June 13, 2011

I Lost My Wallet!!!

RIP wallet! No one knew my right butt cheek quite like you!

This weekend my wallet went missing. It’s a rare occurrence when I lose anything, and if I do, I always seem to get it right back. Sure, I’ve lost my phone 2 times in the 7 years that I’ve had a cell phone, but on both occasions I had them returned to me. That’s where losing a cell phone versus losing a wallet is completely different, you can call your cell phone, but not your wallet! Hmm, maybe I should invent a cell phone/wallet; mind you I’m sure iPhone is already working on it.

The first time I lost my cell phone I couldn’t believe it; I mean the freaking thing was practically merged with my right thigh, which is why I knew right away that it was missing because it was a bulky flip phone that always bulged out of my pocket – yes, that’s my cell phone bulging, so watch the elevator eyes!  When I noticed it was gone only about 5 minutes had passed so, I went right back to the place that I knew I lost it – at the giant puddle I had jumped across on the way to the bakery. I thought for sure it had fallen in the puddle, but it hadn’t! That was a gross experience I don’t want to relive; looking through a puddle on a city street; probably a good way to get hepatitis and/or Super AIDS.

Alas, my phone was not there so I rushed home to use my roommate’s phone and call my number right away! Of course, no answer; so I kept calling every 30 minutes with the hope that someone would pick up my phone. That’s the problem with cell phones, your battery is only good for so long, so sometimes there’s a very short window for you to find it. Finally, several hours later, a woman answered my phone. She sounded annoyed as if I was interrupting something important, but she did confirm that my phone was alive and well. I got her to tell me where she was so that I could meet her and pick up my phone. Since I was new to the city, I had no idea that she was a good 30 minute walk away from my place. As I ran down the street to meet her, I got further and further away, and ended up outside a “pay by the hour” establishment. I went inside and there was a little booth where a ‘concierge’ would normally be, but alas, there was no one to be seen. It turns out that the lady who found my phone was “at work”. My roommate let me take his phone with me, so I called her up and I could definitely hear my phone ring from behind one of the doors, but no one was answering. Judging by my surroundings I figured it would be in my best interests to leave the building and get my phone back from the prostitute phone-finder at a better time. The next day I went to her home and a gap-toothed, slightly rotund lady handed the phone back to me and told me “I was lucky” to get my phone back. Lucky my foot! After that ordeal, I was happy to never have to deal with that woman again and vowed never to lose my phone again! But that didn’t happen. Another time I lost my white iPhone in the snow which is a whole other story (but not nearly as interesting) but needless to say, it got returned to me, and then I smashed the screen on it. I’m starting to think I shouldn’t be around pricey items.

Wear pants in order to save your wallet!!
You’re probably wondering how someone who is obsessed with money manages to lose their wallet. On Saturday, I participated in an event known as The Underwear Affair which is a 5K walk or 10K run in your underwear.  Needless to say I was not wearing pants (where I normally keep my wallet) and it probably fell out of my bunnyhug (that’s a hoodie for all you non-Saskatchewan people). My wallet was lost for a good couple hours before I realized it was gone around 1:00 a.m. when I needed to take a cab home in the rain – with no money. I was convinced I left my wallet in my friend’s car or in my other friend’s house so I just waited out the night expecting to get a call from someone telling me they found it, but after nobody was able to retrieve it, I called my credit card company. Talking to MasterCard is always a little infuriating. I was informed that someone had been trying to use my MasterCard and they got blocked out after mis-entering my PIN too many times. After that they started going to PayPass machines to buy easy “no signature” transactions like coffee shops. I caught them in time I guess because MasterCard told me they wouldn’t be charging me for any of the attempted purchases on my card. That was all well and good, but then the bastards asked if I wanted to increase my credit limit by another $2,000 and that I needed to “act now” because “this offer is only for a limited time”. I couldn’t believe how freaking stupid that was! My card was stolen and then they want me to increase my limit! Why? So they can charge even more to my account? Stupid. Anyway, I was told I would have my new credit card in a month. How ironic since I actually need to use my credit card to book a flight for my brother’s wedding. It’s also funny that I would even carry my credit card since normally I never take it with me anywhere but I had forgot to take it out after my trip to Las Vegas.

After all that drama, I went to my bank this morning and got a replacement debit card. These sorts of things aren’t easy to do without any ID, which is why I’m glad that I have a passport. Even if you don’t travel, I would recommend getting some other form of ID so that you have a way to retrieve your stolen property. No damage done there either. After that it was off to apply for a replacement health card and drivers licence.  In Ontario, it’s free to replace your health card and the driver’s licence is ten bucks. Not too bad all-in-all. The lady who helped me get back my ID cards also told me to call Equifax and TransUnion and put a notice on my account to call me if anyone tries to apply for credit in my name. The lady told me how someone had tried to apply for a credit card 2 months after someone had stolen her wallet so I thought she had made a pretty good point.

Shortly after leaving the service office, I got a text from my roommate telling me the police stopped by my apartment to drop off some “items retrieved from a stranger” on the street that belonged to me. He gave back my (now cancelled) health card and one of my debit cards (also cancelled). There were also some old membership cards in my wallet that were given back too. None of the things that I wanted back, but I am hopeful that the police are holding onto the rest of my stuff pending an investigation or something. So finally, there was some good news about my missing wallet. Now the downside is that the things that I wanted back are most likely spent and long gone and the key pieces for damaging my credit (my credit card and ID) are not back yet. Once I had this tidbit of information, I called the police and filled out a police report. It’s really important to do this in order to protect yourself from fraud and it will help the cops catch any fraudulent activity on your accounts. The woman I spoke to on the phone also told me that I should call Equifax and TransUnion to place an alert on my file in case someone tries to open credit in my name.

So I called Equifax first and let me tell you, it was THE WORST customer service I ever experienced on the phone. I was never able to speak to a real person, no matter how hard I tried. Here’s how a call with Equifax goes:

Robot: “Thank you for calling Equifax, for service in English, please say ‘English’ or press 1.”
Me: “English”
Robot: “I think you said English. If this is correct, please say Yes”
Me: “Yes”
Robot: “I’m sorry, I did not receive your response”
Me: “YES”
Robot: “Thank you. To continue, say ‘Continue.’”
Me: “Continue”
Robot: “I think you said ‘Continue.’ If this is correct, please say “Yes.”
Me: “&$!#”

I’m not even joking. This went on for a good 5 minutes and then brought me to a message that said I needed a valid credit card to pay $6 to add this alert to my file. Number one, I don’t have a freaking credit card! It was stolen you stupid robot! Number 2, I’m already stressed out and pi$$ed off, the last thing I need to do is talk to a robot! When I didn’t get through to a person after 4 tries, I gave up. I’ll try them again tomorrow (maybe).

Good-bye $2 Bill!! :(
Anyway, every time I lose something, it seems to magically find its way back to me, so I guess I had high hopes that my wallet would find its way back to me by now too. Finding out that my card was found and then used by some d-bag after I just completed a charity event really grinds my gears. Fortunately the credit card had that chip in it so it prevented them from using it for any major purchases, with the exception of the pay-pass at a $hitty Tim Hortons. Ironically, in pre-Gail times, I never carried cash so I was never concerned about losing any money. However, since I’m in post-Gail times, some lucky thief made off with $65 in cash, as well as a $2 bill which I held onto for sentimental purposes and a little love note that my partner gave me from when we first started dating (sad face). Not to mention that I just loved my wallet so much! I was so unique and so me. Yes, it only cost me $20, but it was mine. Luckily I think I can order another one online and get it 2 months later (whoo, postal strike).

So what can we learn from this experience? Well there are some obvious things. The first one is that you should only bring with you what is absolutely necessary for the day. When you live on a cash budget, try to only take what is needed and leave the rest at home and safe in their little jars. An emergency fund will help you recoup your losses on the cost of replacement cards, but remember to always have a back up ID or photocopies of your ID handy to make the replacement process a little easier. Never bring your SIN card with you. In fact, do what I do and memorize it. It’s just like memorizing a phone number. If you want, make up a fake contact in your phone that acts as your SIN so you have it with you in a way that is not easy to find for thieves. And don’t forget, as soon as you suspect that your cards or ID are stolen, call you banks, report it to the police, and notify the 2 credit bureaus (Equifux and TransUnion) that your ID has been compromised!

Take care out there! I’ll update you all if there are any shocking revelations!


Equifax Canada: 1-800-465-7166
TransUnion: 1-800-663-9980

1 comment:

  1. frig... *tear* I loved that wallet. *sob* those bastards *sob* are going to get it! The dear...and the front, then the back...*wipes tears, composes self* we'll just have to find a way to move on *sniffle* keep our heads high, and our *new sob* wallets in check...