Wallet Theft at College — What I Learned
by Lauren, our college blogger
School is about learning — and in this article, I'll share what I learned after having my wallet stolen!
This past semester I was pickpocketed on Chicago's 'El' after a night out —not exactly a great way to end a fun night out with friends! The train was packed and everyone was squished closely together, making it very easy for someone to reach into my bag and take my wallet. Inside was everything: my room key, my school ID, my public transportation pass, my cash cards, and gift cards.
Here is some advice on what I learned, what I will do in the future to prevent this from happening again and what you can do to keep what you have safe and secure.
As a college student, this is pretty much your life on a plastic card. Entrance into buildings, mailroom access, your campus cash, and more are all programmed into this card. The first thing I did when I got back to my dorm after the theft was let my RA's know my wallet had been stolen. The RAs gave me a temporary access pass until I was able to buy another school ID.
My Tip: Report a lost ID immediately!
When I went to my RA's room at 3 AM to report the theft, not surprisingly they weren't answering the door. But I couldn't get into my room without my ID. Campus Security could have helped, but I didn't have the number in my phone. I had to call my mother for the number so I could contact them. Fortunately, they were able to help me right away and were super helpful when I filled out a crime report the next day.
My Tip: Program the Campus Safety/Security number into your phone.
As soon as I was back in my room, I called the 800 numbers for my banks and credit card companies and cancelled my cards. Then I checked online, and also went to my bank the next day to get a temporary ATM until my new one arrived.
My Tip: Make photocopies (front and back) of every card and form of ID. Keep the copies safe but accessible — just in case.
The night it happened, the train I was on was crowded, standing room only. My purse wasn't in my line of sight, but was hanging on my arm.
My Tip: Be aware of people around you, pay attention to what's going on and keep your eyes on your belongings.
In retrospect, I didn't need to be carrying both debit cards, or my gift cards, or even my work ID. As for my room key, it would have been better to put it on a separate key ring rather than attach it to my wallet.
My Tip: Only take what you really need when you go out: some cash, your ID, your room key and a bank or credit card. Better you lose a little rather than everything!
College5 Residence Hall Theft Tips