On Saturday evening I decided to have a quick hunt for my netbook before going to bed. It’s a tiny laptop which we’d been using playing RPG for the manual and I just couldn’t remember where it was. I almost left it until the morning. My children told me I was being forgetful and couldn’t remember anything but they joined in. After twenty minutes of us all hunting, I suddenly went, where’s my handbag? We couldn’t find that either so I checked online and some magic transactions appeared on my bank card.
I phoned up and cancelled my bank and credit cards. Six contactless transactions had taken place, all at local shops. These will be covered by the bank. I phoned the police, in my state of mind dialling 999 rather than the non-emergency 101 and got greeted with “you shouldn’t have called this number”. That made me feel good.
Forensics came round on Monday and lifted a palm print which may prove useful. I have during the week contacted the six shops and asked for them to keep CCTV until the police show up. It turns out that the fraudulent transactions are investigated by Action Fraud rather than the regular police and they have to wait for the banks to report it, which can take up to 30 days. One of the shops has clear footage that will be wiped in a fortnight and they don’t know how to extract a portion. They also wondered why I was bothering as the police had told them not to call them unless a theft from the shop was over a certain amount. The other small shop also asked me why I was bothering to pursue this as the bank would cover the money and the police would do nothing. I have felt very frustrated by this as the police say they don’t know that the people committing the theft are the same as the ones using the cards. If they’re not going to ask they certainly won’t know that. I am going to have one more go at explaining the evidence I know is currently available to the police and the banks and then I will have to try and let it go and return to where I was last Saturday lunchtime.
I am not having a go at the police. They are severely under-resourced financially and in personnel numbers. But surely securing CCTV should be a priority as they normally turn up a couple of months after fraud in a shop by which time most of them will have binned it. Just popping round and saying extract it, save it, we’ll deal with it later. They also used to leaflet and door knock houses surrounding a theft, just to ask if anyone saw anything but also to remind people that these things happen and to watch your windows and door. That is no longer the case. On emailing the street, one responded with the fact that they got done the following day.
Similarly the insurance were difficult. Although we have settled I think it’s about £100 less than it should have been and they went quiet for 3 days which left me feeling anxious. However I have now ordered everything to be replaced. I was scrupulously honest in my claim, although will look at changing my provider next time. I was lucky in that it was my handbook and netbook that contained no personal data, no childhood photos or irreplaceable stuff. They were clearly in and out of the house in a matter of minutes, climbing in through the front window, probably while I was in the kitchen or garden.
I had finally come off anti-depressants the previous week (for the third time) and I was in a good place on Saturday lunchtime, feeling that I’d caught up with the housework post painting, tidied it all and cleared my mind to get back to normal stuff. That all went out the window. But I didn’t feel traumatised, as many people do when they feel invaded by thieves. I feel more traumatised by the insurance and the police inaction.
I was cheered up by the bed people who were due to deliver 3son’s bed and mattresses on Wednesday. I telephoned them and asked if they could add in the bed construction as I had been burgled and didn’t feel like reading instructions. The nice person on the other end of the phone said they couldn’t quite manage it on the Wednesday but they could do it on the Friday and they would waive the fee as a goodwill gesture. A small thing, and it was only £40 but it did cheer me up (go Dreams!)
Buying items this week consisted of transferring money to whichever of my children was available and using their debit card. Confusing and it will take me a while to untangle, but all is well and sorted. I also had a supermarket delivery this week, something I usually do and this time, and I am not one for objectifying but, I had the sexiest delivery guy I have had in many a year. That also put I smile on my face and he too knocked a few pounds off the charge for no particular reason. So there are nice people out there.