Guarded purse strings

Four years ago, I wrote about my own experience with someone using my credit card to rack up almost $1,000 worth of purchases. That was a terrible experience. The credit card was used in two different stores and a gas station, but the police only investigated the purchases at one store. The person was caught, prosecuted and sentenced. To me, the jail sentencing was light, and I wondered if it was much of a deterrent.

Since then, I am particularly careful with my credit card. I make sure it is returned to me and safely secured. For a time, I wore an ID badge holder around my neck that held my credit card. It was against my body so no one could see it. But it was conspicuous when the person with me accessed the card, so I stopped using the badge holder.

I keep track of my own credit cards. The credit card company I use keeps very good track of my purchases, too. Purchases are sometimes denied if they were made at a different store or if they did not follow my usual pattern. Sometimes it is inconvenient, and occasionally a friend must use her card or pay in cash, but a potential crime is stopped as well.

I feel credit cards from stores are the most insecure. A caregiver at my home once used my store card and charged more than $200 worth of merchandise that I ended up paying for. That store credit card was canceled, and I never got another.

When activities shops for me, they use my credit card. When they return, the card is locked in the safe and returned at a later time. I really do not feel comfortable leaving it locked anywhere but in the safe with limited access. I considered leaving it in the safe until right before I went out. But if I wanted to go out spur of the moment or on the weekend, there would not be anyone in the office to get the card.

Before I ever moved to a nursing home, I knew having cash was not safe. I was usually cash short in my purse. I knew it was disappearing, so I started carrying all one dollar bills. It made it more difficult for anyone to take much cash at one time. Still, cash went missing from my purse at my first nursing home. I ceased carrying it not long after that.

Suffice it to say, it is quite easy to take a credit card, cash or other valuables from a nursing home resident with impaired mobility. If credit cards are taken away, the disabled resident loses some ability to be independent. That means one more thing is removed from a life that is already limited.

Related: My credit card gone missing

An update on my stolen credit card

Topics: Activities , Risk Management