Loss from Theft

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Agent brown is the name my girls gave to the AirTag I used to attached to the car key (it has a brown holder) and later my older daughter attached it to her brown wallet. We lost agent brown. Saturday, to be more precise, 8/19 evening, at about 6:42 pm I got a text message when I was driving my girls to the premium outlet. The text message is from Amex, and it said “fraud alert” and someone tries to use S8’s Gold Card at a place called “City Gear” for about $280 worth of merchandise. The store declined it and thus the text alert from Amex.

Basically an hour ago my 13 year old lost her purse at the J Creve Coeur girls locker room. She said there is no lock but I cannot verify. We didn’t know then, until the thief started to use the Amex card in her purse and thus triggered the alert from the credit card company.

We were already very close to the Premium Outlet. And I started to call Amex shortly after I get there. To make the card is marked as lost, and also found out two pending transactions at QT. Those 2 transactions will be disputed. After we talked more, it appears someone took S8’s wallet from the girls (kiddos) locker room. S8 said the locker is not lockable. And because she put one of my airtags in her wallet, and I can see at one point the wallet location was at the City Gear (Gravois plaza, or City Gear, 3519 Bamberger Ave, St. Louis, MO 63116). I can even see the location of this person’s home (which I won’t post, I enabled the lost mode and the last location seems to be at someone’s home, at 7:08 pm), as well as QT location (which can be seen from the Amex website from the pending transaction).

A while later after we got home, we found there is even a text message with a time of 7:25 PM saying “I found your wallet” on S8’s phone (she left a number on the wallet).

After some discussions, we decided not to reply back to that text.

This whole episode seems added some excitement to an otherwise uneventful Saturday evening.

I recall when I was in college, my wallet was picked by a thief when I was at a crowded bus (I realized quickly after I got off the bus), another time my drawer in the dorm got broken into and money was lost. In the US, I recall when I was a graduate student, once I lost a digital camera which I left in my office.

I guess this can turn into a good lesson in safety and security (privacy) for our older daughter as the material loss is fairly small.

Peace of Mind

A side note of all this is the Amex and Apple AirTags seem both gave us peace of mind, they provided more transparency than a traditional wallet loss (such as my loss when I was in college in Wuhan). At the same time, I don’t too much curiosity is a good thing. || (update 08-21-2023) it appears the two fraudulent transactions at QT got posted, I opened dispute in the Amex website.

PS be vigilant: I recall when I was working for the credit card company, on the loyalty and rewards platform, I was tasked to investigate the “fraudulent redemptions for airline tickets and hotel reservations”. It appears the thief (or thieves) got hold of the victim’s personal email and password: the same email and password are used in the rewards redemption website which was operated by the credit card co. Let’s just say the email provider is Yahoo. So from the victim’s point of view, it’s really not a good security practice. At the time though, it was also the 1st time I encountered a sophisticated thief like that and I started to doubt the “evilness” of some criminals. My daughter is 13 and was more thinking about the “goodness” of the people, e.g., she would try to find an excuse why someone would steal her wallet (maybe someone needs the money for food). I don’t know, I would not say she was “woke”. But at the same time, I think we should all be vigilant.

PS 2: handle of loss. 旧的不去,新的不来 (Out with the old, in with the new)。I understand many people want things back, and my daughter is no exception. Recently I started to realized and reconfirm sometimes we just have too much junk (which I discussed below). As a parent I am certainly quite protective of my kids’ feeling got hurt etc. But again we live in a real world. And this sort of thing does happen.

Material Things

A bit relevant topic, from my recent article selling on eBay, one of the themes I want to emphasize is material things are not as important as people, and peace of mind. And I think I agree with this TedX talk Life is easy. Why do we make it so hard? | Jon Jandai | TEDxDoiSuthep

(Update 08-22-2023) Dick’s shares fall 24% as retailer slashes outlook over theft concerns

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