30 March 1998

Lessons from a robbery

John Ray

I had a robbery in March 1998 in which my old Hi-Fi and a lot of old cheque books and credit cards were stolen from my room (i.e. the verandah) at 60 Juliette St. The police caught the thief (Emilio Barrero) about a month later in Darwin but only after he had bounced cheques and run up credit-card bills in my name all over North Queensland and the Northern Territory. He put over $4,000 on one of my credit cards alone.

As it was not my signature on the cheques or credit-card vouchers however I did not have to pay. Interestingly, he did not steal my credit card itself. I always carry it on me so he couldn't. He just found an old statement for the card and had a new card forged using my numbers.

So keeping your card itself safe is not always enough. To be really safe we would have to destroy immediately all receipts and statements arising from its use. I was insured for the robbery so I got a new Hi-Fi out of it which was much better than what was stolen plus over $300 to spend on replacing the dozen or so CDs that were stolen. Spending that was fun!