This Sunday evening on my way home, when i was trying to board a crowded bus, I became a victim of pick-pocketing and eventually I did realize that my wallet had been snatched. But it was too crowded for me to even guess who the culprit was.
I knew I had my credit card, debit card inside. There was some money too but not that much to worry about. The first thing what I knew I had to do was to block my cards. But I didn’t have the bank’s number stored on my cellphone. I then called my friends who in turned goggled and then messaged me the number. Then I had to go through the bloody IVRS to get in touch with the customer care. Credit card blocked with no recent transactions. “Sir, where do we send you the new card ?” God I just hung up. I had another task to do. Now I had to call ICICI bank to block my debit card. Again the silly IVRS. I finally got through it to reach the executive. He did ask my details and blocked the card. But my balance was lower than what I remembered. The culprit had used it. The last transaction was at a nearby wine shop of around 400 bucks. He was a drunker, I found that wine shop but I was late.
I lodged a FIR, called my bank telling them about the whole scene. It took me time to get back my senses, coz this was the first time I had such an experience.
But I still consider myself lucky. Usually I carry my drivers license, pan card and some other shopping cards with me. That day I hadn’t so I didn’t have to go through much pain for that.
Second, I had a backup debit card of another account of mine. I had friends to my rescue. So the whole loss I incurred was some cash, a 400 Rs. transaction which I have complained about and a wallet which was special as it was a gift and I was really managing my budget quite nicely since I was using that. I know I act superstitious at times. So rounding up my total loss was around 1000 Rs (appx. 20$)
But life really thought me some valuable lessons with this chapter which I am really going take care of henceforth.
- Save your banks number in your phone. This thought had come to me earlier but I was procrastinating it and this way I got my lesson. Also teaches me not to procrastinate important things in life. When I asked my friends, whether they store their banks number on their mobile phones, the answer wasn’t affirmative. Well with my story, even they realize how important this thing is. I would have really saved some precious minutes. Lucky i was that he didn’t use much or all of my money.
- Avoid overcrowded buses or trains . You could use a cab. Spending few extra bucks is better than losing all, and what if some important stuff you carry along. If its something you can’t avoid then better be vigilant or careful. I have traveled a lot by crowded Mumbai local trains and never had such an experience all life. I was cautious then but this time I got carried away.
- My Bank doesn’t provide cards which make it mandatory to ask pins during any transaction. That’s wrong I believe and the banking industry should ban this practice. Well there are maestro cards which need pin code before any transaction. This takes only few seconds. I believe everyone should follow this practice. I had an argument with my bank over this. All these years, I didn’t throw much attention to this angle.
- Try not to carry unnecessary stuff in your wallet. You could carry just one ID proof which when lost can be replaced easily. A Driver’s license in my country is very difficult to get. I would have to go through another round of approvals which would require a lot of time. Lucky I was that I didn’t carry it along.
- One more mistake I did was not have my visitor card or any sort of paper which had my telephone number in my wallet. In case if the thief is a good man and wants to return your stuff (not the money of course he could try to communicate with you that way. Well that would especially help more if you lose by accident. I once found lost keys at a restaurant and then I could contact that person because she had her phone number mentioned on her key-chain. Get the point.
- Last of all, be vigilant. I am sure we all do that, but at times we are just lost in our thoughts.
Its a mean world out there, but we can do our best, to some extent to be prevent such things. I really feel I have learnt some big lessons. I’ll assume the lost money to be my tuition fee for this lesson. This way I didn’t lose anything and learnt something important in the process.