Friendly Gap Cashier Pockets Lost Wallet

Alenaya traced her lost wallet to a recently visited Gap and pieced together a disturbing story:

Seemingly, walked away from register and wallet fell out of pocket. Kind customer behind me gives to cashier, who sticks it on the side of the register and does not log or tell manager my wallet fell.

Came back 10 minutes later frantic, couldn’t find wallet after ordering food in food court. Cashier looks me in the eye and says she never saw it, her manager offers to check cameras, but I assumed I had dropped it and lost it…so decline offer. Two hours later, return to store and request manager check camera (friendly cashier gone by this time). After nearly 40 minutes of looking at video, two managers return to tell me friendly cashier pocketed my wallet and left.

The managers promised to conduct an internal investigation, which beyond looking at the security tape again, can’t involve more than speaking with the employee. Alenaya is now concerned that her wallet’s contents could be used to steal her identity. Her wallet contained: a license, checks, three debit cards, and a health insurance card bearing her social security number.

Alenaya has already sprung into action and cancelled the debit cards and put a hold on her bank accounts. She should also call the credit reporting agencies and put a fraud alert on her credit report. The three CRAs can be reached at these numbers:

Equifax: 800-685-1111; Fraud Dept. 800-525-6285
Experian: 888-397-3742
Trans Union: 800-916-8800; Fraud Dept. 800-680-7289

Alenaya should also call the police and file a report, which will help prove that any new accounts opened are the result of identity theft. Finally, she should keep an eye on her credit report through annualcreditreport.com. As a potential victim of identity theft, she will be able to get an extra report for free beyond the one she is entitled to by federal law.

Wallet stolen at Gap Outlet, by none other than the “nice” cashier… [CreditBoards]
(Photo: Getty Images)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. hills says:

    While the sales clerk was a creep, it sounds like the 2 managers went above & beyond by offering up video tape review – I imagine most stores wouldn’t be as helpful….

  2. ptkdude says:

    And this is exactly why you should demand that your insurer not put your SSN on your ID cards.

  3. consumerist11211 says:

    If you read her updated posts the Gap has been less than helpful since.

  4. rolla says:

    yeah, surprised they offered to show the tape. Customer should follow up with store and get Gap corporate involved.

  5. KingPsyz says:

    frankly she was a dolt for not taking them up on the review the first time she returned. could have saved a hell of a lot of hassle.

  6. rolla says:

    she should have called the cops right then and there when they saw the tapes. That might have been enough to push the half-assed managers to do something immediately.

  7. ceriphim says:

    Um, I’d call the cops. And make sure the employee gets fired. After being security interviewed, of course. Who knows what else they stole if they’re willing to pocket a customer’s wallet and lie to their face.

  8. UpsetPanda says:

    I don’t care if I dropped my wallet, someone took it, flying monkeys distracted me while the headless horseman rode by and stole my wallet, you betcha I’m going to cover all my bases and watch the videotape. If I dropped it, it might be in that tape and I’d get to see who picked it up. If it was stolen, I’d see that too. Since she was in the checkout line, it’s not as if she could’ve lost her wallet while she was wandering around the store. She was in the line, paying.

    I hate deceiving people, and this employee is at the top of that list, along with people who add extra onto receipts to tip themselves more. Scum!

  9. mgyqmb says:

    I think a common problem with inexperienced or well-meaning victims is that they are very, very prone to accepting whatever the situation throws at them, as not to appear rude or cause a fuss.

    Unfortunately, in the case of a stolen wallet (and in reality, anything), the best course of action is contacting the police immediately, from the store, as soon as you saw the tape, or had some proof. People forget that store employees and policies are not the law, and have no reasonable expectation to be able to enforce their meaningless standards. This is most commonly seen when employees detain or bully shoppers for not showing receipts.

    The extra benefit of having the police in the store, would of course, be the PR nightmare it causes. You had better believe that “Loss Prevention” would have “Flown in from Cali” a lot quicker then.

  10. Martha_Jones says:

    @ceriphim: How?? for legal reasons most companies won’t tell you if they have terminated an employee or not due to your complaint – but they sure as hell don’t want a the if working for them. Launching the internal investigation is exactly what corporate would probably have done anyway and I’m guessing calling corporate is the first the the managers did.

  11. Crazytree says:

    Submitter is WRONG WRONG WRONG for not whipping out her cell phone and reporting that theft in front of the managers.

  12. IphtashuFitz says:

    I agree that she should have immediately called the cops after learning what was on the tape. The employee blatantly lied about the wallet and the tape proves it. That’s a pretty clear-cut case of theft.

  13. darkclawsofchaos says:

    so… why do people carry their insurance card? I mean even if you are hospitalized from an accident, you can always call your insurance company rather than risk losing it. Three debit cards and and checks? I think carrying one debit card is enough, nevermind credit cards as they protect against fraud… its not her fault, I’m not blaming the victim, but this is more of prevention for the future

  14. zingbot says:

    @darkclawsofchaos: Because some of us have frequent doctors appointments requiring an insurance card. Insurance isn’t just about accidents. Sometimes it is about general health or a chronic problem.

  15. djkevo says:

    Have you heard of wallet biopsy ? Thats where you get into some sort of accident and the paramedics take you to a hospital based on what kind of health insurance cards you have.

  16. JustinAche says:

    My dad had his wallet left on the counter at the local Harley-Davidson here in town. The family actually owns 3 stores, and the cashier that day was from another store, figured nobody would know her, took the wallet, and within 5 hours was spending like no tomorrow. Well, the nice owners of Harley themselves called the cops, recovered everything, and even did all the follow up for my dad. Hooray Harley-Davidison, hah

  17. ExtraCelestial says:

    after reading her ordeal on the message board i am SO glad the consumerist picked this story up. i cant imagine myself being any more timely or less trusting than she has been, in other words, i can completely put myself in her shoes. its absolutely deplorable the way this is being handled and hopefully consumerist can get the op the attention that she deserves so that this can be resolved.

  18. KingPsyz says:

    @DemolitionMan:

    did they drag her behind a bike afterwards? cause that would be fitting…

  19. savdavid says:

    I must say I was shocked a month ago when a customer found my wallet in the shoe department of Target, took it to the service desk. They called my name and everything was still there! Wonderful! I was damn lucky for my carelessness and stupidity but grateful to know there are some nice folks out there.

  20. jrdnjstn78 says:

    My mom had lost her wallet at a Lowe’s store a few years ago.

    An employee had found it and put it in her back pocket and turned it in later to customer service. Lowe’s got the wallet back to mom and everything was in it. About a month later my mom’s bank account was shorted. She found out that this girl had took out 3 blank checks out of my mom’s wallet. She spent $100+ at a Wal-mart. Spent some money on some shoes at the outlet mall and I forgot what she spent the other check on. What was amazing was that this lady had none of my mom’s identification and she forged my mom’s name poorly of course. Obviously these stores do not ask for ID when accepting checks. My mom did file a police report.

  21. jwissick says:

    I think this person should also consult a lawyer who specializes in ID theft. Call the local BAR for info on who. Have him/her fire off a nasty letter to GAP legal and all.

    Depending on her state, citizens arrest may be a possibility depending on local laws.

  22. spryte says:

    @KingPsyz and others…

    Is there ANY damn story out there that people here won’t respond to by insulting the OP’s intelligence/actions/decisions/whatever, playing Monday morning quarterback, and generally acting dickish? I’m sure this woman thought many of the things people are saying here later on…hindsight is always 20/20. Even if she had called the cops as soon as she new the employee had taken the wallet, it still would have been hours before anything MIGHT have been done, and depending on where you live, cops may just actually not give two shits that your debit card was stolen.

    Sure, sometimes the stories on here do seem to be more the fault of the poster than the person/company they’re angry at…sometimes people are just being whiny turds. But this really isn’t one of those. And automatically blaming the victim gets old and doesn’t make you sound wise, just rude.

    /rant off

  23. spryte says:

    @spryte: Bleh, new = knew.

    Fingers too grumpy to type properly….or something.

  24. P41 says:

    I dunno, given the theft in the first place, I’d say the store response was a gold star effort. No hassle about reviewing the security tape (40 min!), even told her straight out their own employee stole it. Even if they decided on the spot to fire the employee, of course they can’t say so. The police report should have been the next thing though, not after getting advice from a blog, not after calling up equifax. Sheesh, send the police over to make an arrest the same day and the fraud alerts won’t be necessary. Why do readers here always skip past the police and/or the courts and figure their only recourse is getting a blog to make customer service fix their problems.

    Oh yeah and DEMAND that the insurer stop using and/or printing SSN’s, and issue a random number instead. (Must not be California or New York) Claim they’re in violation of the Privacy Act. Threaten to name them on Consumerist.

  25. forgottenpassword says:

    Yeah she could’ve called the police the moment it was discovered on the video tape that an employee had pocketed the wallet & then lied to the owner who lost it.

    I am kinda obsessive compulsive about checking for my wallet. I tend to do it after getting out of my vehicle and entering & exiting a store…. sometimes more often than that.

    I havnt lost my wallet since junior high. It fell out of my back pocket while listening to some speech/lecture coach was giving in the lockerroom where they have uncomfortably hard benches that can push you wallet out of your back pocket as you attmpt in vain to get comfortable…. two fellow classmates behind me snatched it up & took the cash & the lunchticket & threw the rest in the trashcan. I recovered it though…. minus cash & lunchticket). Ever since then I have been a compulsive “wallet-checker”.

  26. deb35802 says:

    Zingbot: Also if you need to phone your insurance company (say from your office or phone) you need additional info that is listed on your insurance card (such as group number).

  27. veterandem says:

    @PTKDUDE
    HIPAA requires that insurance companies assign a unique identifier (not your SSN) on your insurance card to prevent the loss of provate information. This came about in 2003, so she should send them a nasty-gram about not complying with HIPAA (there are some HEFTY fines for HIPAA violations)

  28. veterandem says:

    @ptkdude: Sorry, forgot we could “Reply” to comments!

  29. Neurotic1 says:

    Calling a cop? If you live in a large city like Los Angeles, good luck. Do you have any idea how long it’ll take for an actual cop show up to help you?

    Anyway, one time at the Gap, when I was walking out along with a crowd, the alarm went off. I turned back, like most people do instinctly, but there was so many people that nobody even noticed. When I was like 4 stores down catching up to my g/f, I noticed one of the cashiers calling and telling me that I dropped some money. I looked at him, as I checked my pocket, and since I had no cash one me at the time (paid with cc) thought it was kinda strange. He said that a fellow employee picked it up and is holding it.

    As I followed him back, I put 2 and 2 together and realized that he just wanted me to walk through the alarm sensors again. I don’t know what he said as he walked out following me but everyone at the store was staring at me like I stole something! I was so embarassed. One shopper even said something, intentionally loud, to the effect of “they should search him” to her friend while smirking.

    The 2 employees kinda got embarassed as they realized they were mistaking and tried give me my dollar back that I dropped (which wasn’t mind in the first place). I declined, left it on the counter, asked for a refund for a $120 jacket I had just bought and asked to speak to their manager. She took my complaint and I recieved a $50 GC and a letter of apology from some jackass in corporate.

    I don’t know what type of training they give their employees but obviously it’s lacking.

    The whole experience left a foul taste in my mouth and I still refuse to shop at a Gap/Old Navy/BR. It’s not hard to do because their stuff is crap as of late.

  30. mac-phisto says:

    @spryte:

    Even if she had called the cops as soon as she new the employee had taken the wallet, it still would have been hours before anything MIGHT have been done, and depending on where you live, cops may just actually not give two shits that your debit card was stolen.

    hours? last time i filed a police report, the officer told me it would take 3-5 days before i could get a copy (which costs $3). it actually took 3 weeks.

    @Neurotic1:

    Calling a cop? If you live in a large city like Los Angeles, good luck. Do you have any idea how long it’ll take for an actual cop show up to help you?

    large city? hell, i live in the backwoods of connecticut & it still takes an hour or more for police response to a non-emergency.

  31. waterdoc says:

    We went through something like this at Walmart, and guess what ??? Call the police, make a report, and inform them that there is video.Most departments love video as it makes their job so much easier. Stealing is stealing, and the Gap should fire her if the police prosecute.

  32. snoop-blog says:

    would you expect more from a gap employee? i’m amazed everytime someone leaves a wallet/purse behind and actually gets it back.

  33. CSR says:

    @jrdnjstn78: That reminds me of something that happened when I was a kid. My mom found a wallet. All it had in there was $500 and an appointment card for a dentist. A lot of people would have shrugged and kept the money. My mom called the dentist’s office and explained what happened–since she knew the first name and what time and date they had an appointment. She said she knew they couldn’t give out the patient’s info, but that she wanted to give them her name and number, then they could call the patient and give it to them. The dentist’s office did just that, and a few minutes later my mother got a call from a *very* grateful elderly woman. Turned out she had just cashed her social security check before losing the wallet. If my mother hadn’t been honest, or hadn’t been willing to go through some effort, she wouldn’t have had any money to go on that month.

    Made a huge impression on me. And you know, something like that ended up happening to me about fifteen years later. Found a wallet and the only ID in it was a membership card to a video store. The really funny thing was he walked into the video store while I was on the phone with the clerk.

    You know how they say that everything that feels good is either bad for you, fattening, or a sin? Not so. The look of astonishment and gratitude on that guy’s face had me on a mental high for days. Doing something nice for someone just because you can feels great.

  34. The Walking Eye says:

    @spryte: “Is there ANY damn story out there that people here won’t respond to by insulting the OP’s intelligence/actions/decisions/whatever, playing Monday morning quarterback, and generally acting dickish?”

    No, no there is not.

  35. loganmo says:

    Once when I worked at McDonalds in high school, a co-worker stole over $100 out of my drawer, and denied it even though there are clearly video cameras pointed at the registeres…stupid greedy fools.

  36. shades_of_blue says:

    @CSR: I hope you first asked some basic identity questions before handing it to him, it’s too easy for an ease dropper to overhear your phone conversation and take advantage of the situation.

  37. chartrule says:

    hopefully the employee gets fired and prosecuted

  38. ceriphim says:

    @veterandem: I dunno about the malls you shop in, but most all of the malls of the stores I’m responsible for had police moonlighting as security for the holidays. Takes less than an hour to get them to the store…

  39. sciencegeek says:

    @CSR: A couple of months ago, the guy sitting next to me on the train left his wallet on his seat and I didn’t notice it until the train had left the station. I picked it up, mentioned what had happened to people seated around me, and then called the customer service number on the guy’s Amex card. I told them what had happened and since I knew they couldn’t give me his phone number, asked them to call him and give him my number to call. I also got a friend to google the guy’s name and the town he lived in to see if I could find him that way. She found someone else in the same town with the same last name (it was a fairly common name) who fortuitously knew the guy. I got a call from him shortly thereafter and arranged to meet him the next day. The wallet had three or four credit cards, his driver’s license, $80 in cash, and a few other items.

    At the time, I was torn between giving it to the train conductor and trying to find the guy myself. I decided that he’d be more likely to get the wallet with the contents intact if I dealt with it.

  40. ShadowFalls says:

    @sciencegeek:

    I give you much respect in those regards. Often most will say they found it with no money in it when they took the money themselves. Makes them feel like they did them a favor and got rewarded for it. You didn’t do that, I am sure the person who lost if was much appreciative of your honesty.

  41. sciencegeek says:

    @ShadowFalls: Well, the guy had been sitting next to me on the train so I couldn’t have gotten away with the “I found it empty” excuse. I was probably much nicer than I might have been because I’d recently dropped my wallet and someone kept it and tried to use my credit card. Replacing lots of bits of plastic is never fun.

    The guy didn’t give me any reward and I vacillate between being happy with the reward of good karma and being annoyed at his stinginess.