Last December, during the final few weeks of my internship in Mountain View, I experienced a traumatic event - the theft of my backpack. It was on a Monday evening, when I was in Menlo Park to play some badminton for the first time with one of my new co-workers. Since he had a car, we drove to the badminton center instead of bussing like I usually do. Parking right in front of the brightly lit front entrance, I was both excited, yet naive to leave my backpack inside the car. After around half an hour spent inside, we walked out to find that the window was smashed and my belongings have vanished, including:
- 2 MacBooks
- my social security number
- my glasses
- a bunch of clothes that I bought on Black Friday
After this event, I found myself pretty stressed about finding out the appropriate actions to take since they weren’t so clearcut and I wasn’t familiar with the American system of things. Thus, the reason for my writing of this article, a definitive guide for what to do with a little bit of my commentary:
1) Call the police, then file a report. Although it is very unlikely for the investigate to go anywhere if there are no surveillance cameras at the scene of the crime, a police report is an essential document for preventing further damage to you due to identity fraud.
2) Place a fraud alert with a major credit bureau, such as Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion. This prevents identity theft by preventing the opening of new accounts using your personal information, and notifying you so you can take action accordingly.
3) Next, report your identity theft to the FTC here. They will monitor transactions and whatnot for your name and contact you if anything comes up.
4) Finally, check your car rental company and credit card for insurance on stolen good and damage reparations.
As with many things, prevention is the best protection. In the future, it is wise to park your car in the safest location possible. This can vary depending on which area you are in, but generally you should aim for it to be in a spot with surveillance cameras if possible, or a public area where it would be hard for a car robber to do his snooping without getting caught. Also, you should take the extra effort to not leave things (especially valuables) on the seats of your car, even if it is a simple bag (you never know what other people are thinking!). Aim to bring it with you, or at the very least, put it in the trunk, glove compartment, or under the seat. The inconvenience is well worth the prevention of a car break-in. And thus, concludes my article!
P.S. Just finished exams and am heading off to an internship at Atomic Labs for the summer! Pretty excited. Also, I’m going to be doing a rehaul on the blog soon! Be on the lookout. And here’s a photo of the best drink ever (pandan basil concoction from Ben Thanh). ;)