Crime in Arizona is Low, But Not Zero

Arizona is a delightful place to live. Life in a relatively small town means crime is pretty low, especially when compared to major metropolitan areas.

Thieves can target small towns.
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While the crime rate is low, it's never zero. One afternoon while shopping, we might have let our guard down a little too far. That inattention and poor planning was a mistake learned the hard way.

How Thieves Took Advantage of an Opportunity in a Thrift Store

Many years ago, my mom and grandmother visited from out of state. We checked out the local thrift stores, taking our time and enjoying the afternoon.

Pay attention, don't be a crime victim in Arizona.
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While looking at books in a small alcove, we were lost in nostalgia and not paying much attention to what was happening around us.

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A man and woman entered the small room, but we didn't think much of it. The woman spoke to us, diverting our attention to a book she held in her hands. It was an unremarkable exchange. Unremarkable, that is, until they left, and my mom suddenly realized her purse was missing.

Pay attention, don't be a crime victim in Arizona.
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How We Became Victims of a Crime

We were stunned. It wasn't hard to figure out how many mistakes we'd made in the small shop.

  • The woman diverted our attention by asking us about a book we'd been discussing, pulling our attention away
  • The man stood behind Mom and unclipped the removable strap from the purse on Mom's shoulder, deftly sliding it off her arm while she chatted with the woman
  • My mom's out of state accent tipped the crooks off that she might be a tourist and a good target
  • My mom was carrying way too many things in her purse
Thieves take advantage of the unaware in Arizona.
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Never Carry Too Much Cash with You When You Travel

The aftermath of the crime was the hardest. Since Mom and Gran were traveling together, they'd divided up the cash they had between them. 

Pay attention, don't be a crime victim in Arizona.
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While they shouldn't have been carrying so much cash, at least they only lost half as much as they would have if my mom had been carrying all of it. Still, they should have left some of it back at the house instead of taking it all with them.

Leave Some Credit Cards at Home When Travelingf

Mom also had nearly all of her credit cards in her purse, plus her driver's license, and one more item she should never have been carrying with around with her.

She first called the Motor Vehicle Division in her state to alert them her ID had been stolen. Then she called to cancel her credit cards but wasn't even sure she remembered all the cards she'd been carrying.

Don't be a crime vicitim in Arizona.
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Compromising her credit cards and driver's license was a problem, but that was not the worst part.

If You're Carrying THIS in Your Wallet, Remove it Immediately

Mom not only had cash, credit cards and her driver's license in her wallet, she was also carrying her Social Security card with her.

Only carry your social security card for government forms
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According to Kiplinger, you should never carry your Social Security card in your wallet.

Your Social Security number is the most vital piece of information you have, and it's pure gold for identity thieves. The damage that can result from compromising this one piece of information can impact your finances for years to come.

You only need to show this piece of ID on extremely rare occasions, like when you accept a job, close a real estate loan, or file for government benefits.

Only carry your social security card for government forms
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When you're done, you should go straight home and stow your Social Security card in a secure location. You should also make sure nothing else in your wallet has your Social Security number on it, including any other forms of identification.

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