It doesn’t matter where you are distraction theft seems to be the hottest way for thieves to steal what you own these days.
It’s not a new way for thieves to get your stuff but it sure does seem as if it has been revived. I wonder if scammers are running out of ideas or maybe this is the easiest way without much effort involved.
A few years ago a friend of ours told us how her daughter was almost the victim of distraction theft while studying at a local coffee shop. On the table she had her Apple iphone and wallet along with her school books like most students would.
A customer who had just purchased a coffee came up to her and asked a question looking for directions. While responding to him and looking out the window pointing she caught him trying to steal her cell phone.
She said to her mom, “The guy had his hand on my phone so I removed it and put it in my backpack”. He apparently laughed it off saying that it was a habit because he had an iphone as well which he pulled from his pocket to show her.
I personally think it was a ploy, luckily she was paying attention to what he was doing. Even though he may have touched it out of habit she wasn’t risking him walking off with it.
I’m pretty sure we can say that this dude was using distraction as a technique to steal her wallet and her iphone. He just got lucky that she didn’t cause a stir in the coffee shop to alert anyone and believed his story. Sadly, he will just move on to someone else.
Where can distraction theft happen?
Distraction theft can happen anywhere!
I was reading an article on Yahoo News which sparked this topic for me which detailed how thieves are now using distraction theft at the airport. I have flown quite a bit in my time to many countries around the world. I always held my belongings close to me and spoke to no one at the airport for this exact reason.
What’s happening is that thieves hang out at the airport and watch for people who they think have money or expensive belongings. It may be your clothes, jewellery, computer bags, cell phones or any other form of electronics.
They know their stuff when it comes to ‘Bling’ and they will go after unsuspecting tired tourists. I know when I got off very long flights I was tired and yes someone could have tried distraction theft on me and it may have worked. Most times we don’t expect it to happen, but it does.
The thing is, once your stuff is stolen you will likely never get it back. Even if they have surveillance cameras the likelihood of getting your valuables back is slim, especially if it was cash that was stolen. These thieves don’t hang on to things long and once they have something they sell or trade it for cash and fast.
Even having cell phone insurance may not protect you against theft but it’s best to ask your insurance provider this question if you don’t know. Can you claim theft on travel insurance? I don’t know if you can claim it on travel insurance but it’s best again to ask this question or read your policy. It’s better to be informed.
When I travelled I would bring limited amounts of money with me and use my credit card on the odd occasion or the local ATM which I never seemed to have a problem with. I used my credit card more so when I was visiting my now wife in Canada than any other country. I was always worried about where the credit card numbers would end up even though I was protected with credit card insurance. I just didn’t want to deal with anything.
My wife once had her wallet stolen and after cancelling all of her credit cards she found out that the thief did use the credit card to make purchases. Luckily, she wasn’t on the hook for the charges.
These days with ease of technology all you need is a credit card number, expiry date and those three little digits at the back also known as the Card Security Code (CSC) and you’re good to make online purchases. Sometimes all you need is just the credit card number.
When you least expect it
If you recall last year I wrote about a guy coming up to us in a grocery store parking lot asking us for bus money. It was a parking lot scam that still happens today all over Canada.
He too could have used distraction theft as a way to steal my vehicle, wallet or my wife’s purse the minute we turned around. You see if you are packing groceries in your vehicle and have multiple doors open along with the trunk anyone can distract you while another hops in and steals stuff.
Another way distraction theft may happen is at the grocery store where thieves look for unsuspecting shoppers who they can easily target. How many of you ladies leave your purses open or just sitting in your shopping cart. People chat at the grocery store all the time. It would take mere seconds to steal a purse and it’s so easy to come up with a question to distract your train of thought.
Oh and men don’t be too quick to say ‘I told you so’ to your better half because distraction theft happens to men as well. If you carry a wallet you are a target. If you have a man purse, you are a target. Everyone is a target.
Then there is the gas station, bus stop, bar, restaurants and so on. The list is endless because thieves will stop at nothing to get what they want, when they want it no matter where you are. Sadly, scams are everywhere and although the police can do their best to catch these thieves we have to look after ourselves.
The moral of this story is that we need to hold our belongings close, limit the amount of cash we carry and if we talk to strangers make sure we have a clear view of them. Always be aware of your surroundings in front and behind you.
It may seem like we are being overprotective with ourselves but if it means protecting our stuff, I’ll do it.
If you do find that you were the target of distraction theft contact the police right away and if it was at a store or place of business alert them as well. If there are other shoppers in the store you may help prevent the next person from being a target.
Has anyone ever tried to use distraction theft to steal something from you? Did it work? What did you learn from that experience and what tips would you offer?
CBB Week At A Glance
I have no time for anything these days since I’m working so much and what time I do have left I’m either sleeping or spending it with my family. The good news is that I was told my job role will be offered to me full-time likely next year which means lots of new decisions and changes for my career. I won’t get too excited though until then because anything can happen but it’s a good feeling knowing they like my work.
Other than that I cleaned up the back garden and brought all the summer stuff inside for the winter. It’s always a sad time when I have to do this. My wife suggested I leave the planters and hanging baskets out front for now until they die off. I’m guessing that’s shortly after Halloween when everything should be packed up for the season.
This week I managed to get my hair cut finally when my wife said it looked similar to Adam Levine’s recent cut. I don’t know if that’s a good thing but judging that she’s a huge Maroon 5 fan I’m going to say yes.
My wife also enjoyed her moment at the spa to get her eyebrows threaded. This is always a wonderful sight having a woman ripping out hair with a piece of string. She used to get her eyebrows waxed for $7 but she says threading is much better and only costs $3. I let our son watch and he had a huge smile on his face. He was likely wondering what was happening to his mommy but with her smiling back he knew everything was going to be fine.
Not too exciting of a week but it certainly was a productive one. I have to balance my time wisely now until the end of they year. Everything I am doing is for my family and I keep telling myself this when times get tough for me.
How was your week?
Published This Week
Just in case you’ve missed any of my blog posts this week I will share them all below. If you are looking for past Saturday Weekend Review posts scroll down to the bottom of this post where I will list up to 5 previous weeks for you to read.
If you have a question that you would like to ask Mr.CBB fill out the Contact Mr.CBB form on the Home Page and send in your questions.
If you want to share a story via a Fan Question only please ensure that there is minimum 500-1000 words and details… we love details!
Right now CBB is posting Tuesday (Grocery Game Challenge) , Thursday (Personal Finance Post), Saturday (Personal Finance and Weekly Wrap-Up and a recipe on Sunday!
- Couple Cancelled Wedding and Used Stag Party Money To Pay Debts
- Should using the self-checkout qualify you for a customer discount?
- Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
Submit your Deal or Brag:
Saving money while grocery shopping is essential in the CBB family and that’s why we share our grocery shops every week in The Grocery Game Challenge 2015.
What I love the most is when my fans share their amazing shops with me whether it be groceries or other deals they find at a garage sale, online or freebies!!!
If you have a brag that you want me to share email me at canadianbudgetbinder@yahoo.(ca) < remove brackets) or fill out my contact form by Friday each week to have your brag considered for the Saturday post.
No brags I’m afraid this week. Please do send me yours!
Making A Difference (MAD)
Note: If you are a personal finance blogger (anywhere around the world) and would like your blog to be MAD featured simply drop me an email and I’ll explain the process to you.
This is my way of giving back to the personal finance community through networking and sharing knowledge with my fans.
Hello CBB readers,
We’re delighted to share our story and invite you to join us on our journey to Freedom 35. This is a homecoming of sorts as we’re Canadians at heart: We grew up, met, and got married in Toronto.
An unexpected opportunity then came up that involved uprooting ourselves and moving south to warmer climes (literally); of course we jumped at the chance for a new adventure in a strange and not so distant land.
Seeking out new adventures has taken us from the Northeast megalopolis of the Washington-Boston corridor to Silicon Valley while having fun, meeting new people, and learning new things along the way.
We’ve decided the best way to keep having new adventures is to unshackle ourselves from the need for full-time jobs: hence we’re seeking Financial Independence by the time we’re 35 (2 or 3 short years from now).
To accelerate this goal, we’ve cut unnecessary spending from our budgets (even with our taste for luxury), found fun ways to make more money (Airbnb, negotiating hard for raises and bonuses, constantly recycling things on Craigslist), investing diligently and aggressively, and optimizing our taxes.
We started blogging to keep ourselves accountable to our goals, to share the things we are learning, and to network with like-minded folks. Once we meet our goals, we plan on seeing what new adventures we can get up to as 35-year-old retirees.
As they say, we’re taking the path least travelled, and that has all the difference made. (The author may have meant that line ironically to poke fun at humans’ tendency to find meaning in arbitrary decisions; that interpretation also works for us)
Food and grocery shopping is a BIG part of CBB because food is a large part of the budget which people struggle the most with.
If you are someone who would rather buy convenience meals or products consider cooking homemade meals or baking from scratch.
Not only will you save money but you will be proud of what you accomplished and you’ll see that from the smiles on those you feed.
If you don’t already know I have a second Facebook page called The Free Recipe Depot where I share recipes from other Food Bloggers from around the world.
I also share recipes on CBB once a week on Sundays either made by me or my in-house home blog cook Nicola Don!
This week our Top Recipe Pick goes to Maria who shared this recipe how to make pumpkin pie spice over at The Pioneer Woman. It’s that time of year when we are all making pumpkin recipes and instead of buying pumpkin pie spice you can make it yourself for less money. Enjoy!
Every week I will pick a blog post of the week from around the web that I found interesting and want to share with you and an Editor’s top blog post pick.
Editor’s pick (That’s me Mr.CBB) goes to Michelle at Budget Bloggess for “Who are your calling cheap, I’m frugal” which is a subject most us have dealt with. I know my wife and I could tell you stories about when we were called cheap or how something we scrimped on ended up costing us in the long run. It’s all about living and learning but hopefully we don’t learn the hard way.
Michelle also mentions a great Canadian Contest being held by Capital One and Credit Canada who are holding a #CheapvsFrugal contest on Twitter which you can read about in her post. You can also read the contest rules here for Credit Education Weeks CheapvsFrugal Twitter Contest. Win some cash CBB fans…. Go!
How people find CBB
Every week I get thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog. Keep in mind any spelling errors below are because I share with you the exact way they typed their search engine query to land on my blog.
- Does Bell Canada go door to door?– You bet they do. We had a visitor 2 weeks ago.
- If a jar of pizza sauce has an expiry date of June can you still use it?-Depends when you are opening it. I always look at the product and if there is nothing growing I try it. Most times there isn’t an issue for us BUT this is why we no longer stockpile food much these days.
- I need $20,000 now in Canada– Yes master… haha! It’s not that easy I’m afraid.
- Own home by age 23– Go for it, I did it!
That’s all for this week friends. Don’t forget to subscribe to my daily blog post by entering your email address on the home page and verifying the subscription email once it is sent to you.
- The Saturday Weekend Review #136: Would you quit your dream job to do nothing for 2 months?
- The Saturday Weekend Review #137: Could you survive a recession in Canada?
- The Saturday Weekend Review #138: Is a housewarming party another Money Grab for free stuff?
- The Saturday Weekend Review #139: There’s a cheaper way to save when buying used stuff