Stash away your PAN card

A friend of my mine was robbed by his flat-mate. That guy with whom he was sharing his apartment simply walked away with his phone and emptied his ATM cards.
A detailed account of the incident can be found here.
After being pick-pocketed of 2 phones, I have realized that most thieves find that most valuable item on the target is the phone. By habit people keep track of their wallet bearing back-pocket, but in reality it contains only a few hundred bucks. While a high end phone is worth INR 30-40k. (More after the current Congress govt. has rendered INR worthless)
However this thief was ingenious. Few interesting points this incident raised were:
1. Although he clearly had access to the laptop. He resists the temptation to flick it. Clearly proving that like TV refrigerators laptops are too cumbersome to move in the black market.
2. PAN card: A PAN card is like the social security number and has all the information needed for any banking transaction. You quote your PAN number, address, date of birth and mobile number and you get keys to Fort Knox. Together they have all the information needed to change your banking passwords and max out your cards.
3. In India where people lack identity proofs, PAN is being extensively used by bulk of the people as identity proofs. If you don’t believe me, wait at the airport security. Every second Indian flashes out their PAN card as identity proof. Net result that they end up carrying this card in their wallet always. Making it easier for thieves to get access to your PAN number and date of birth (2 most frequently asked security questions by most banks)
4. Popular wisdom teaches that one should not carry a lot of cash because they would lose more. But with multiple credit cards & debit cards most targets become walking Lakpati (rich marks). In 10 minutes through multiple swiping & ATM withdrawals one cost lose their bank balance & get the credit cards maxed out.
Remedy: Limit your losses!
1. Don’t carry your PAN card around. If you have a driver’s license use it.
2. Don’t buy a flashy high end phone. And if you do, have at least simple password to safeguard the thief from accessing your personal/private photographs.
3. Keep 2 ATM cards. One for your savings and lock that one in a safe place and the second for your monthly expense which you carry around as everyday plastic & petty cash needs
4. Don’t carry multiple cards or credit cards with huge credit limits.

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