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A false sense of security

When it comes to money we often spend too much time trying to dream up new ways to get rich and then ignore habits that could make us poor.

Case in point

Advertising man, Dales Rhodes went for a surf at Palm Beach at 7am one morning. It was a mistake to leave his valuables in his car but the mistakes did not end there.

"When I got back to my car my wallet was gone," he recalled. "I called and reported my cards stolen. The bank rang me back within 10 minutes and said someone had tried to put a big jewellery purchase on one of the cards in Mosman.

That call from an alert bank in fact gave Rhodes a false sense of security.
Are you getting mail?

A few days later he was chatting to someone who told him of a person who had had their cards stolen and then had a redirect put on their mail so that the thieves received the new, replacement cards.

"I then realised I had not been receiving any mail for a few days," he said. "I asked at the post office and they told me there was a redirect on my mail to a post office box in Rose Bay. The post office then rang their security people and I rang the Rose Bay police."

That also gave him a false sense of security.
It gets worse

"I also recalled all the banks, etc, to again cancel the new cards that were in the mail or had been already collected by the thieves," he explained. "The police tried to catch the person who came in to collect the mail at Rose Bay but to no avail. Meanwhile I went into my bank and discovered that someone had changed my pin, linked all accounts to one card, raised the maximum daily withdrawal to the maximum, and had withdrawn $2,000, in cash!"

It got worse with a package of mail that was waiting to be redirected to Rose Bay, which contained a new gold Visa card in Rhodes's name from the Commonwealth Bank, which he had never been into. He also received bills for mobiles he had never bought.

Fast movers

Police reckon it takes an identity thief 'about two-and-a-half hours' to put their photo on a driving license. A protective step the police took was to 'shut Dale Rhodes down' which meant putting all his cards out of business - legitimate and dodgy.

That worked for a while.
Not again .

Four months later, Rhodes happened to discover that there was a four-day redirect on his mail. "They had rung up all my card providers, cancelled my cards, got new ones sent, and then redirected the mail," he said. "Thankfully I intercepted the cards before they did."

Dale's big mistake

The lesson on cards is never leave them exposed but if you do lose them be very vigilant and make sure you follow all the steps you need to take to ensure the credit card companies make good your losses.

Other common mistakes
We also make mistakes with our insurance that can be costly. NRMA Insurance recently told me that:
  • 60 per cent of clients never tell their insurance company of a large purchase and only 22 per cent only sometimes inform.
  • 60 per cent of us are under-insured.
  • 39 per cent of renters have no contents insurance.
  • Nine per cent of homeowners don't.
  • 24 per cent of drivers are not fully insured.
  • 32 per cent think they understand CTP or green slip insurance but 25 per cent of these thought it covered property and it doesn't.
And here's a beauty - 83 per cent of us have a high to moderate confidence that they have sufficient insurance but only 18 per cent are right!
Here's a simple rule - think about what can go wrong in your life and make sure it doesn't.

Published on: Saturday, July 01, 2006

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