Yes, I’m one of those lucky ones. My home has been robbed, I’ve been held up, survived a fire and a week ago my bag was snatched about a hundred steps from my home. So. Oh well. I was as careful as can be but what can we do – people do bad things.
Based on my experience, here are the critical things one must do (based on sequence):
Since my entire bag was snatched, I was out there with nothing. No money, no internet access, no number but mine memorized, no nothing. Good thing I live in a compound where the landlord has back up keys. So first things first – have access to your home because that’s where everything (at least what was not snatched) is.
What you need to do NOW (pre-snatch): Back up keys! Either under your pot (suggest you put this inside the pot instead), on top of a ledge, or in my case, with the landlord.
2. Block your credit cards.
Yes, this takes priority. Not sure about this, but based on my understanding you can purchase things just using the card name, card number and the security code at the back and all purchases are valid until the time you’ve notified them of the theft/loss. So if the thieves decide to purchase an island (you wish your credit limit can) before your notification, then ouchie. I think if they have to sign the charge slip you can defend that it’s not your signature. I’m a bit more confident with my Citi card because they send me via phone an OTP for online purchase. But then my phone was also stolen so there you go.
What you need to do NOW (pre-snatch): have a compilation of the contact numbers of your credit card providers. I don’t think email will cut it so suggest you call them direct. All calls are recorded so you have evidence that you’ve notified them.
3. Block your phone.
I’m one of those people who do not lock their phone. Well, I’m not anymore.
Since I’m a postpaid user, I had to call my provider and block the outgoing calls/incoming calls and data usage of my SIM. What I missed to do since my phone was off (empty batt) was use the Find My Mobile feature of Samsung. (I was using Note 4). I did that a couple of days later – at the very least when they go online Samsung will wipe the memory from my phone.
You can also have the phone’s IMEI blocked from all national providers so they can’t use it in your country.
What you need to do NOW (pre-snatch): LOCK YOUR PHONE. Please. Use the pattern feature – takes half a second. Seriously. Don’t be like me.
Enable the Lost Phone features of your phone – there’s an android app for that and Samsung has a default option. Keep location enabled (if you have the battery juice), and keep the box of your phone as evidence of purchase.
4. Change passwords.
Ok, all the critical money related items have been addressed.
Did I tell you that I’ve kept my phone unlocked? Yeah. Sigh. Yeah. So. I had to change all my passwords to disable the effin thieves from accessing my accounts. The pictures, archived email, etc. I have to not think about. But at the very least my online accounts are now safe, or as safe as I can make them. Sigh.
What you need to do NOW (pre-snatch): Well, not much. Lock your phone I guess.
5. Bank accounts.
I don’t like paying for a replacement card. But if they issue you a new one, chances are they automatically deactivates the old one. In my case, I preferred to just open a new account and close the old ones – no additional expense on my end. And wow was I thankful that I did not enable the transfer to anyone feature in another bank!
What you need to do NOW (pre-snatch): Do not, I repeat, do not keep all your cards in your wallet. Only the critical ones. More importantly, NEVER write down your PIN. EVER. Same with passwords. Keep them on your head. If you can’t keep them on your head, then don’t bring the cards and just go to the bank with two IDs and withdraw over the counter.
Most importantly, learn from the experience. Understand that you cannot help it if people will do bad things, but you can be extra vigilant. Find the right balance of seeing what you could have done more and not blaming yourself because really, the fault is their’s.