I didn’t. This is for you. You’ve been robbed and you’re without a phone, your purse and/or wallet is gone, and you have a whole lot of things you need to get done that those were your lifelines.
Here’s a guide of what you need to do right now, and (at the end) what you need to do before you get robbed.
I’ve just been robbed
- Breathe – no seriously, sit down for a second and breathe. Call the cops from someone’s phone when you get a second. You’re no good to anyone at the moment. Your rushing to get the police called most likely is not going to result in an arrest unless you got the license plate. I mean it might.
- Assess – are you hurt? If you got hit you are hurt. You’re scared. If they bonked you on the head you’re hurt. Don’t care if it doesn’t hurt. You tell the police that you were bonked on the head.
- You’re scared and have a lot of adrenalin – you’re going to feel sick in a minute, if you’re hurt the pain will start coming in.
- Talk to the police. Call a friend. Wait for both. File a report even if it was nothing. I cannot stress this enough.
- If you have a phone finder app the police can generally find your phone if you can remember your login. Robbers love to grab your phone and chuck it and anything they don’t need as soon as possible – find your phone, find your discarded wallet and purse usually.
- Go home.
- Call and cancel your credit and debit cards
- Breathe some more.
- If your ID was stolen, quite often the local DMV can reissue online, don’t worry about that right now.
- If your credit cards were stolen you’re usually not responsible for charges made with them (although you will need the police report number)
- If you used your birthday as a PIN for your ATM/bank, well, damn that was stupid, sorry can’t help you there
- It’s not your fault.
- If you’re hurt, police in the US generally take action if an assault was involved – my wife was pistol whipped, broke her scalp, blood everywhere, but she didn’t feel it was a hospital event. This caused the DA to not do anything. You get bonked that’s assault.
I just got robbed and now I’m at a computer and can think again
Go to all your social media sites and log sessions out relating to any device that is gone (if they got your phone). Should be noted that changing passwords does not always log something out. Feel free to change passwords as well, but yeah, log out stolen devices.
If you want, change your passwords – WRITE IT DOWN YOU ARE GOING TO FORGET IT. You just got robbed. Your memory is crap for a few days.
Call every credit and debit card help desk and report a lost or stolen card. You’ll get your card mailed to you and you’ll have it reported and will be on deck for fraud monitoring. Additionally if you’re in the US google “credit card fraud alert” and file one with the monitoring bureaus.
Search: “reissue lost license <yourstate>” if your license was stolen. Generally can be replaced online, but you’ll need a credit card most likely which may have been stolen from you.
I haven’t been robbed but that sounds terrible
What to do to prepare
You know how you write down all your serial numbers of every piece of electronic equipment you… I lost you already didn’t I?
OK, this is simple – make yourself a document of some sort that you can keep electronically, access via the internet and also print it out. Place it in your sock drawer. No, I don’t care where you want to put it you’re putting it under the damned socks so when you get robbed you know where it’s at because of this article.
Take every credit card number you have, write it down in that document in some obscured fashion – you only need the last 4 digits usually so let’s say just write the last 4 digits… I personally want anything online to be pretty secure so I’m going to add 1 to everything and not tell anyone… so as opposed to a 7290 I’m going to write “American Express 8301 (phone number)” – making sure to include the phone number to call for problems.
Name the document “I just got robbed” and save it where you can search for it. Don’t be fancy, future you need your help.
I very much doubt you need any sort of obfuscation, but I’m paranoid. CARD, ISSUER AND PHONE NUMBER.
Write down some phone numbers and contact info of people you know. Your phone’s gone right? Maybe your contact list got compromised or deleted because the thief read this article.
What are you going to do about two-factor authentication? Your phone is gone and in a thief’s hands. Do they have access to your email? Texts? This is something you need to plan for and it’s too hard to give generalized advice here. You need to plan for your phone being gone and having literally no credit cards, cash, etc.
Some services like Google allow you to have one time authentication codes. You might need that before you can even get into your account on a new phone or device. Did you set those up and store them somewhere?
If your wallet, purse, etc was stolen do you know what all cards are even in there? You going to show up at the Zoo and have to grab a replacement?
How are you going to contact your friends? Do you have contacts synced to your phone’s account (google/apple) or were they just on the phone?
You can make future traumatized you’s life a whole lot better by spending a few minutes now, or you can kick yourself later. That document you’re working on, seriously make sure it doesn’t contain anything that if compromised can come back to bite you in the butt if it leaked to the internet (don’t put full card numbers with security codes, don’t put Dolly Parton’s personal cell number in there, etc.)
If your online life is an open book, go and change your security questions for parents/pets to at least a gross misspelling of their names you can remember.
Do you know your driver’s license number? Do you need to? Honestly don’t know personally but that’s something you might need to get a reissue.
Are you always packing heat and that’s gone now? Do you know the serial number of that gun that’s now in some kid’s hands?
Got an item with a MAC address you carried with you regularly? Write it down.
Does your phone have even a simple passcode? No? They have access to everything. Set a simple passcode. Doesn’t have to be crazy. Even 14789 is better than nothing. They’re not hacking criminal masterminds generally (some are I’m sure,) anything should stop ’em.
This isn’t easy. I’m telling you to work for yourself after you’ve been whacked over the head at some future date and all your stuff stolen. This is for you. Do it. Also I’m not the expert on this, going by three of my friend’s robberies and some horror stories. I forgot anything let me know.
I’m not attempting to sell you anything. Going to say if I could this particular page would have no advertising (let me know if you know how to do that with Adsense.)
Take care of yourself, and please take care of your future self with just a minute or two of action so you have a plan when your lifeline / phone disappears.