Archive for May 17th, 2015

Dear Friends,

As I’m writing to you today my vision is blurry and I can hardly see the screen because my eyes are dilated from an impromptu eye exam I had to get done today.

It all started last night. My husband and I attended a non-profit gala in a well-known hotel downtown Minneapolis. The evening was wonderful and we had fun bidding on the auction items using the new cell phone technology. We decided to leave at around 10:30 p.m. and as we walked toward our car, my husband noticed something was wrong and said, “The car window is broken…” As I approached the car, I realized, what we don’t think that can happen to us, just happened. I said, “Oh no, my purse!”

I took my “big black purse” and a “little black purse” and transferred some things from the big one to the little one so it would be more comfortable (and fashionable) for the gala. I also had brought another “little white purse” because I couldn’t decide if I wanted to use the white purse or the black purse… (I brought extra shoes too, LOL). When I was done transferring my items to the little purse, I put the bigger black purse on the floor behind the front seat. I thought, it’s dark in the parking ramp, the purse is black, the carpet and the seats are black, and the windows in the back are tinted dark. My purse should be safe. Then I thought I should also put the little white purse in the back, on the floor. So I did.

So as we approached the completely shattered window, I saw that someone had taken both the little white purse and my big black purse. At first, I was shocked. You know the feeling when you feel your blood goes to your feet all at once? That’s how I felt at that moment. Then with the little blood I had left in my brain to think, I started to recollect what was in my purse that was of value. They had taken my wallet, which had my checks with my home address and our driver’s licenses on them. They took my ATM/Debit card which has access to my checking account. There were also three other charge cards for department stores.

At the same time, my husband was also thinking what his first steps should be so we decided to call our insurance company first. I’m glad I had his phone number in my cell phone. Once that call was completed, I remembered that my husband had his ATM/Debit card and that the phone number to call is on the back of the card so I called and cancelled mine. I don’t know where I would have found the right phone number to call at 11 p.m. on a Saturday night. I am thankful that I decided to take my driver’s license and my personal and business credit cards with me to the event. I was also glad that, for the first time, it was great that I didn’t have any cash in my wallet. My husband always gives me a hard time that I have worked at a bank for 23 years and never carry cash. Well, today it paid off! There was no cash in my wallet and there was nothing in the little white purse. It’s sad that I never got to use it because I had just bought it a week ago. But that’s ok. It’s replaceable.

I proceeded to look up my bank accounts on my phone and noticed that they had already made three transactions to Best Buy. One transaction went through for about $538 and the other two had a plus and a minus amounts so I’m not sure if their system detected something or not. Then I had, what I think was a great idea. I decided to transfer ALL the money from my checking account to another account that does not have access to any cards. I thought to myself, “If the card cancellation doesn’t go through right away, then at least they will be denied because there is no money in the account.”

My husband and I continued to clear the glass from the window that was scattered inside the car, everywhere. I was just hoping I didn’t sit on any glass. We drove home with the open hole in the back sit behind the driver’s seat with a storm coming upon us. The rain came down and it poured just a few minutes after we got home.

When we got home I decided to check my account on the Internet and saw that there was one more transaction at Walmart for around $65 and when I checked again right before going to bed at around 1 a.m. there was already another transaction for $436 that apparently went through as well. All of these transactions are “pending” so my financial loss from money taken out of my accounts will not be much, if any. However, guess what else was in my purse? My prescription eye glasses. I usually leave them in the car when I attend evening events or bring them in my purse but my new “little black purse” was too small and I couldn’t fit them in. So today, I went to the vision store to replace my glasses but they said in Minnesota it’s illegal to replace glasses on an expired prescription so I had to get a new eye exam. Luckily they had a doctor on site and the next appointment was only 30 minutes away so I waited and got it done. While waiting, I was laughing at some of the dumb videos people post on FaceBook!

I’m glad they didn’t steal anything else from the car and my sun glasses were still there. They knew that if they opened the door the car alarm would go off so all they could do was take the purses. So, what did I learn from this experience?

  • I realized that we are all vulnerable and exposed to crime. I felt so violated. It’s a weird feeling that we only experience when it happens to us.
  • I realized that in the grand scheme of things, they only took material possessions. Everything they took can be replaced. The situation could have turned out worse. It’s better not to think of “what could have happened” but I know it could have been much worse than just losing two purses and its contents.
  • I also now will be much more aware of my surroundings and will for sure never leave a purse in the car, even if it’s dark. The thieves can use a flash light and easily see what’s inside.
  • The technology we now have available can be used for good or evil. I looked up the balance and activity in my account and was able to transfer money out of my account from my cell phone. I had my insurance agent’s name in my contacts in my phone. I made a call to cancel the stolen card from my phone. At the same time, the thieves were able to purchase items at Best Buy using their cell phone to get to the Internet and used my card immediately after stealing it.

What I am concerned now is about identity theft. My husband and I signed up to LifeLock immediately when we got home. The monthly cost is worth the peace of mind knowing that whoever stole my personal information cannot steal my identity—or at least that’s what I hope at this point.

Even though I fear that the thieves have my home address now, I trust that God will protect my home and my family—and my identity. I will put my trust in God and will remember these Scriptures:

Romans 8:31 (NLT) What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

Psalm 23:4 (NLT) Even when I walk through the darkest valley I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.

So today, I encourage you to do two things: 1) Be careful and be on the alert. Crime can happen to any of us. 2) Trust that God will protect you wherever you go and He will be with you!

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