Keep Your Purse Safe When Dining Out

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Ladies, be careful with your purses and wallets. Learn from my mistake! I had my wallet stolen right out of my purse while dining at the Rain Forest Cafe on Wed night. This restaurant is inside the Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, IL.

The thief immediately went using my Visa card inside the mall and then tried to get gas and charge another big amount at Best Buy before Chase denied the card.

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We are not responsible for the $2,000 + that was put on my card (thankfully). I filed a police report and have done other things in hopes of helping law enforcement to catch the thief. The officer said they've had many reports of this very thing happening at that particular restaurant.

My advice, ladies, is don't do what I did and that is to hang your purse from your chair. I didn't want to place on the dirty floor but wish I had. Would have saved me much aggravation!

This restaurant is just the kind of place where this kind of crime could easily happen. It is kind of dark, very busy, lots of people milling around and you are easily distracted, especially if you're a Mom of young kids like me!

Better yet, leave your purse at home and let hubby carry your ID. Perhaps just bring a little purse with only the bare essentials.

I knew exactly what was in my wallet and it wasn't a lot: not much cash, a Visa card, ATM card, Sam's Club card and driver's license. Within 1/2 hour or so of returning home, I had the cards all canceled. We had a message from Chase about our Visa on our answering machine asking us to call immediately regarding the large charges. I was able to get a new driver's license the next morning.

Carry only what you really need and nothing you'd be sad/upset if you had stolen. No one needs tons of credit cards. Do not carry your Social Security card!

Someone very carefully and sneakily unzipped my purse and lifted my wallet without any of us being the wiser.

This restaurant really should let the patrons know or try to have security in place. I doubt though they want to advertise that customers are being robbed there, not too good for business.

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Sorry this is so long but wanted to get the message out to be very careful with where you put your valuables when you are out in public. Take care with your wallets, purses and packages.

I will not be returning to the Rain Forest Cafe any time soon. It gives me a real bad feeling even when I think about it. Their prices are very high for what you get anyway. You're paying for the atmosphere which our children really enjoy but I definitely could live without after this incidence!

By Debbie52 from IL

September 7, 20071 found this helpful

You must be upset. I had my wallet taken under similar circumstances. I foil would-be wallet snatchers by putting everything into a change purse at the BOTTOM of my purse. What with the makeup bags, etc., it even takes ME a moment to dig down & find it! (But I did have a makeup bag snatched at a convention once - my friend said they must have thought it was a bank money bag, as it was retangular and olive. They tossed it when they opened it & saw my makeup - so I got it BACK.)

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September 7, 20070 found this helpful

I recently learned that a woman in Van Nuys Ca had her purse on her shoulder, As she got out of the car a car pulled up beside her and took her purse and drove off. I went out and bought a plastic traveling soap dish that snaps shut, This way I put keys one bank card I.D. and insurance card and carry in my pocket instead of carrying a purse, as I am alone most times. p.s. happy ending for woman in Van Nuys, her drivers license and credit card had fallen in the car seat as she exited the car!!

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September 8, 20071 found this helpful

Pickpockets move so fast that it can happen anywhere, so I wouldn't blame the restaurant. It happened to me too, years ago. I was standing at a counter looking at a pattern book, put my purse right next to the book, and a small boy grabbed it and ran. I had everything in that purse and never got it back.

We simply have to be smarter than the thieves. Protect yourself and they'll have to find an easier target.

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September 8, 20071 found this helpful

When dining out I lock my purse in the car trunk, and just take in my money in my pocket. (I'm an older mom). If I don't have a pocket, (for women have a shortage of pockets), I usually carry a small palm size flat change purse in my big purse, that I it take out for my money, and hold in my lap. I try to never take in my purse when dining out, or even doing other things in public that involves money. I also like the money belt, that is easily concealed under a blouse. Don't give people reasons to rob you, make it concealed and out of sight. Then you can relax, and enjoy your dinner and time out.

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September 9, 20071 found this helpful

Rain Forest is responsible for their dirty floor. It is a well-known fact that one should place their handbag on their lap. If your bag is too cumbersome, then remove your wallet & place on your lap. You are now wiser so stick to this advice and you will not be inconvenienced in the future.

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September 10, 20070 found this helpful

The reason I would blame the restaurant is that plenty of police reports have been filed already and the restaurant surely knows about it but they do not try to protect the patrons. Atleast they could have a sign to say not to hang personal belongings on chairs. I saw many people doing the same as me. My chair was right up next to the people behind us so I feel it was a bus boy who squeezed in there to clear table and lifted the wallet and passed it off to an accomplice.

Since this happened I bought a different kind of wallet....smaller even then what I had and it was small. I use a small purse and carry only the bare eseentials.

I do not advise locking a purse in a trunk unless you do it at home before you leave and no one sees you. There can always be a bad person lurking around to see you hiding a purse or valuables in your vehicle so that is really not a safe thing to do either. Two years ago I stupidly locked my entire purse in my mini van while my daughter & I were at her gymnastics lesson. I thought having it behind the seat was safe but not so. Came out and my van's passenger window had been smashed and purse was gone. Another vehicle had been broken into the same way...in broad daylight in a busy parking lot!

I have also thought to just start keeping things I may need in my mini van instead of feeling like I need to carry around and then just carry the absolute least amount I can get away with. I suppose even a cell phone could be left in a vehicle....hidden, of course.

I like the idea of having the wallet or a change purse at the bottom with everything else on top. Let's not make it easy on a would-be crook. They do look for an easy target and the right circumstances.

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September 10, 20070 found this helpful

My husband won't believe me about people smashing windows to steal things & drives me crazy by leaving his wallet/checkbook/cell phone in the car!!! I once had a window smashed for a package I was going to take to the post office - so I am wary...

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September 10, 20070 found this helpful

Another place to be careful is at the store. I frequently see opened purses sitting in the child seats of carts. The shopper is often several feet away, with her back to the cart. It would be SO easy to lift something from the purse and keep right on walking.

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September 12, 20070 found this helpful

Yes, the grocery store or discount store is another place to be careful with your purse. I try to keep mine on my shoulder but if I put in the childseat of the cart, I actually put the safety belt through the strap of my purse or keep the straps over my wrist and if I need to walk away from the cart, I take my purse with!

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September 17, 20070 found this helpful

Hi Debbie52, Sorry to hear about your loss. I wanted to let you know of another scam that has been used in my area. In grocery stores and Walmart type stores a person will watch your action as to your purse after a few minutes subject # 1 will approach and question you about a certain item to get your attention so you will move or turn away from your purse. At that time subject # 2 will remove your wallet and both subjects leave the store and you will not realize your wallet had been stolen until you get to register. There are so many scams out there and the thieves take advantage of honest working people. I hope this will prevent someone from being a victim.

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September 18, 20070 found this helpful

The same thing happened to a friend a few years ago at the cracker barrel and they did the same thing charged a lot of things and even groceries at Kroger's. It was close to Christmas so they probably ate well that day.

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October 11, 20070 found this helpful

My hubby got pickpocketed once, in a restaurant in Las Vegas. He never knew the fellow that bumped into him had lifted his money out of his shirt pocket, till a little while later he went to get gas in his truck to come home on!

In restaurants, I keep my purse sitting on my feet between my legs or have it hanging by the straps over one of my knees during the whole time we're sitting to eat. This way, I know where my purse is.

One time, I was being stalked (by a man & 4 women, all dressed in black clothing, jackets, shoes) in a discount store, in Las Vegas. I had my purse attached to the shopping cart. They never made off with my purse or keys or anything inside of it, but when I realized what was happening, my purse was laying the same way that I'd had it, but my keys were laying a different position than where I'd left them (attached to my purse). This is one of the ways I knew someone had tried to take my purse and realized it was attached. Another way, I knew something wasn't right was that all the hairs stood up on the back of my neck, & a little voice said to me, "Turn around", when I did, there was this specific man standing behind me, closer to my purse, with his hand outreached towards it. When I turned and saw him, I immediately grabbed my shopping cart and walked far away from him and the girls that had also been following me in certain shopping aisles. ALL I can stress to you ladies (maybe guys, too), is BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS AT ALL TIMES!! You never know who might be stalking you.

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October 11, 20070 found this helpful

Also, another thing, watch large items that might be sitting on top of your grocery bags in a shopping cart, that might not fit in a shopping bag. I've heard of these items disappearing, when the shopper has their heads turned. One incidence I heard of here at one of our local grocery stores, is a lady had came and bought all the grocery items she was going to need for her dinner party that night. She'd had the Bakery Dept. make her up a big tray of fancy holiday cookies, of which were on top of all of her groceries after checking out at the registers. Somewhere in between her checking out at the store & putting her groceries in the trunk of her vehicle in the parking lot, someone stole her big, nice tray of holiday cookies. She never realized it till she got home to set up her dessert table! When she inquired back at the grocery store, they remembered ringing up the item and it getting put in her shopping cart. Not one person saw who stole it from her shopping cart. She didn't know if the thief stole it in the store when she wasn't looking, or if they stole it in the parking lot when she was unlocking her vehicle. Be aware of those folks that are watching you, when you're at the cash registers, when you're shopping, while you're in the parking lot, etc.

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February 24, 20080 found this helpful

I sit on the strap of my purse and keep the bag between my legs. Fortunately, I hadn't learned the hard way.

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January 30, 20090 found this helpful

I used to drive a school bus. I would take my drivers license, credit cards and money and put them in a small coin purse. I found a fabric one with a zipper worked the best. I would keep it in my bra. I do not drive the bus anymore, but still keep this habit. Works great!

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April 20, 20120 found this helpful

I had a friend that had her bag stolen when it was on a chair next to her in a restaurant a man came up and started asking her all kinds of questions and directions to get somewhere and while she was distracted there were 4 other people in line to get the bag so one got it everyone ran out quite quickly and then ran on a bus and my friend and I ran after them.

One would transfer it to the other one back and forth. One person in the bus took her wallet and she identified it and everything in it in her purse and the contents in her purse, as the bus driver called the police. She did get everything back, so if you carry a bag keep it around your shoulder and in front of you when eating in your lap.

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April 20, 20120 found this helpful

I am sorry that you had your wallet stolen and worse yet, the trouble you had by getting your cards replaced. I do not put my purse on the floor because it would make you ill to know what is on the floor at dining establishments. I have seen ladies put their purses on the floor, hang them on the chair backs and even hold them on their laps while dining and I was tired of doing any of them.

I purchased a purse hanger which you hang on the edge of the table close to you. One part sits on the table while the hook end holds the straps of your purse. The weight of the purse puts pressure on the flat round top that sits on the table. It is very secure, the purse does not touch the floor, and not expensive. I paid $5.00 for a very pretty one that had a floral crystal design. I am so very glad that I did purchase this item and can feel safe while dining. I hope this will help someone who wants to keep her purse off the floor yet close to her.

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April 20, 20120 found this helpful

I have a purse hanger that I like to use, it can be placed onto the edge of the table and you can hang your purse from it's hook just under the table next to you where no one can easily reach it. Works for me.

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April 20, 20120 found this helpful

Thanks for sharing your painful experience. I have a hint that my late mother-in-law shared with me. When grocery shopping, or any shopping where you use a cart, buckle your purse up through the handle with the child restraint usually available in most carts nowadays.

I usually put a jacket or sweater on top of it as well, if the season permits. Also, even with the restraint fastened, it doesn't hurt to keep one purse handle wrapped around your wrist while shopping. I know this doesn't help in a restaurant situation, but it will help while shopping with a cart.

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April 21, 20120 found this helpful

Debbie, I'm so sorry to hear about your theft! I never, ever hang my purse on my chair and have a great suggestion for you and all you ladies - it's called a purse hook, or purse hanger, or some variation, a little nifty gadget that tucks inside your purse with a hook for your purse and a pretty weighted disc with a floral pattern, faux jewel, etc. that rests on the table at your elbow and keeps your purse safe & off the floor. You can search ebay or amazon for them, prices vary widely, but this link to amazon will give you an idea. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007KXLUKE ... e=395105&creativeASIN=B007KXLUKE

You may have to copy & paste it. I have one and have given several as gifts and wouldn't be without it! I hope this will help future dining experiences for you, your friends, and everyone! BTW, I always use a shoulder purse, so I just tie a loose knot in the strap to shorten it for hanging. Good luck.

And Debbie, another BTW, I used to live in Schaumburg & know Woodfield Mall well. I miss the great shopping & restaurants we just simply don't have in beautiful New Hampshire. Best to you. Bonnie

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April 21, 20120 found this helpful

When I go shopping I don't carry a purse. I put my debit card in my back pocket. Things have gotten so bad out there and this is the last thing I need. Sometimes I will carry my license with me when needed. I just feel safer.

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April 21, 20120 found this helpful

I bought several carabiners (hooks that climbers use). You can find them at Walmart or Sporting Goods stores. I hook it through a ring on my purse and then to the grocery basket. I also use a metal 'wallet' that fits in my pants pocket. They have them at Walgreens or online.

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April 21, 20120 found this helpful

Thanks for the down-low on this scam! Humm Nervy huh? I know folks who had their keys removed and found their homes cleaned out when they went after eating out at a restaurant as well? Someone in the restaurant has to be in this to have it go off so smoothly? I now only carry my essentials in a very small snap on wallet. I either carry it or slip it into my pocket.

I just bring in my CC card and not bring in my wallet if picking up at the drug store etc. I have noticed many things now when I go shopping and eat out I do not allow anyone near if I sense their fishy, or answer questions if they need help I dial 911 first.

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April 21, 20120 found this helpful

This could happen anywhere - even in church, school, a high-end store or a country club. It's not the responsibility of the restaurant to watch your possessions, nor do they have the ability to do so. Never carry more in your purse than you need, and maintain physical contact with it - hold it, put it between your feet, etc.

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April 22, 20120 found this helpful

I have recently taken to carrying just a small wallet that can fit into a pocket when out walking or on my person when eating out. I am tired of dragging a purse along everywhere I go and am rapidly approaching the age of forgetfulness. It is also less burdensome.

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April 22, 20120 found this helpful

Sorry to hear about your misfortune Debbie. I, too, am familiar with Woodfield Mall (I used to live in that area) and unfortunately it is a prime place for theives to target others. I know several ladies that find purse hooks to be useful.

I have to admit that most of the time I will either hold my purse on my lap or trust that the floor is clean enough and put my purse between my feet. Any time I am able to get by with just a small wallet I leave the purse at home. And I put the wallet in a front pocket if at all possible.

If I really want to take a camera or small emergency items with me, I get my fiance to carry them since he almost always wears cargo pants/shorts. If I'm by myself, I leave those items locked in my car.

When I do bring a purse, I carry it crossways over my body in busy places and make certain the zipper is closed. If anyone bumps me even slightly, no matter how innocent it seems, I at least glance at my purse to check. A tip from my gramma is that when you are driving by yourself and have your windows open, buckle your purse handle in with your seatbelt. That way if someone runs up to your car while you're at a stoplight, etc, they can't easily grab your purse.

A similar event happened to my mom many years ago, but luckily all they got was the duffel bag on the passenger seat with her dirty workout clothes in it!

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April 20, 20130 found this helpful

Here is a video of another sneaky trick to get a purse!

I've taken to carrying only credit cards and drivers license in a change purse, that is big enough to hold my keys, in a pocket.

http://www.koin.com/2013/04/19/cane-bandit-surveillance-video/

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February 27, 20150 found this helpful

Had something similar happen to me also and it is a headache to fix everything and get all the credit cards taken care of, pay for new license, etc. I'm much more careful with my purse now. I refuse to quit carrying a purse since I love my purses! I did however take out all sentimental items and put only essentials and replaceable items in it. Sad lesson to learn.

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February 27, 20150 found this helpful

I shopped at a grocery store where there were at least 3 purse snatching episodes. I decided that I didn't want to be one of the victims so I took matters into my own hands.

I took an old purse I had, stuffed it with junk mail, filled an old wallet with play money and even thought of putting in some dog poop in a plastic baggie, but didn't. I also put some heavy things in the purse....like an old shoe, a water bottle filled with water and some other matter that I can't remember.

I carried my purse in a very careless manner hanging off my shoulder, put it in a grocery cart and left my eyes off it while I looked for grocery items. Sure enough, someone grabbed it and ran off. I yelled that my purse was stolen and by the time the thief was to the front door security had stopped him.

I was delighted when the police arrived to take him into custody to report that the purse was full of junk. He was arrested for stealing junk mail, play money, etc. I'm still laughing.

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May 8, 20150 found this helpful

I live in the south and we have major rings that steal anything. They watch all parking places so do not think locking it in your trunk is safe. It is not! If you cross your handbag straps across your body they can not drive by with a knife and slice it off on the side.

Once during the day in New Orleans a little boy about seven was on one of those old banana seat bikes like they use to make years ago. This is why I noticed him and told my lady friend who is an attorney to take her bag off of her shoulders and she listened so he got the next lady walking. He had a large, sharp knife and rode by her and quickly sliced the strap and kept going riding his bike with no hands.

Also you think your safe with your auto key locking it as you walk away. Thieves have a device where they drive by your car and they can pop the lock from their cars. So push the auto button old school while you are standing by your car. So far their device does not work when you hand lock it.

If a person wants in your house they will get in. They were watching my house. I was gone for three hours out with friends from 10am until 1pm. I had a group come in and make trips somewhere with a big white truck. My next door neighbor watched them drive off several times. She had recently moved in. She now knows I never leave my garage open. She thought I was having a sale somewhere besides my house because I had mentioned having an estate sale since I sold my camp and my house in town was overflowing.

Anyway they took over 150,000 worth of things. My homeowners did not cover it due to a huge deductible from the hurricanes we have here. Also I did not have a separate page added for furs and jewelry. I never needed it.

Please go out to your bank and get a simple box to rent. I had jewelry from my grandmother, dead aunt who traveled the world, dead sister and mom. Furs were my grandmothers and I was named after her. There were women in the group because they tried on my clothes. They took everything they even thought they would want. They took all of my liquor and meat out of the freezer. They took underwear and my shoes. I will never recover from this. But I will survive with God.

The police came quickly and I learned about our detectives. They were a joke and did nothing. I demanded finger prints because they used my stuff to move a 70 inch tv. They came a month later and I knew the prints were not good by then. The detectives never came to my house and I had to list what was stolen and make a copy for them. I talked with an attorney and he suggested I call the mayor. He did nothing.

Maybe if I was somebody important they would of helped. I now have no respect for them and wont bother calling them again. I still feel like I need nerve pills when I think about this. I called several locksmiths and they told me they have heard of pass keys even for deadbolts. The thieves went thru a gate and thru a door with a deadbolt to the garage and then thru my backdoor in the garage with a deadbolt. If I would of been home some of them would be in Heaven now. The only reason why I have insur is incase of a total loss like a fire or hurricane. You know my insur went up because I was robbed but did not file a claim. I called my insurance because the policy said you should but told them I was not filing a claim. I learned they don't care about people either.

So if you have things precious to you or gold things like I did go get a security box at your bank. I wish I had. I don't care about anything except for my familys jewelry. Be careful out there.

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