When my husband lost/misplaced his primary credit card twice in a two-week period I decided it was time to take action. If you have ever lost a credit card, or worse, had it stolen you know what a nightmare that can be. Apart from the threat of a stranger racking up thousands of dollars of expenditures on your card, your entire financial life has to be reorganized.
Most of us have automatic monthly bill payments deducted from our credit cards. This ensures we not only pay our bills on time (saving a cheque and a postage stamp) but if we have the right card we can accumulate valuable points to be redeemed for travel or consumer goods and services. Tapping a card to pay for groceries or other services is so convenient that we sometimes forget how dependent we are on the technology embedded in our cards.
The first time hubby lost his card he remembered it had been two days since he had last used it at the movies. I kept checking our online bank account to see if anyone was using the card hoping that he’d simply misplaced it in the house and had not actually lost it. When it did finally turn up in our closet, we both breathed a huge sigh of relief and said a silent prayer to whoever was looking out for us from above.
The second time it went missing was during the recent Rogers’ national network crash. His card disappeared in the gas pump card reader and stayed there. Again, we monitored the account online and a couple of days later when we went back to the gas station to double-check whether it had been turned in, glory halleluiah it had. More prayers to the heavens. Another catastrophe was averted.
As aging boomers, we seem to be developing a propensity for losing things—car keys, cell phones, our marbles, etc. When we start losing valuable items like credit cards, however, it’s time to take action.
As I watched the news detailing the thousands of pieces of luggage that airlines lose every day, I was struck by the simplicity of a solution in the form of a little tracking device that could be packed in our luggage that would let us know where it was, even if it was in another country and we couldn’t get at it.
I Google’d ‘tracking devices’ and discovered Apple’s Air Tag, a toonie-sized disc that can be attached to a key ring. When sync’d to your Apple device it will locate whatever valuables you want to track. Hubby’s birthday was imminent so I ordered a four-pack of the devices and have since put one on our dog’s collar, one in hubby’s wallet, one on his key ring, and one in my own purse. Happy birthday, honey! The one I bought only works with Apple devices but there are Android options as well.
I can now track the whereabouts of the most valuable things in my life—my husband, my dog, and our wallets. I can see when he’s at the golf course. I can locate our dog when she gets fed up and runs away from home after sneaking out the door. When I couldn’t find my husband yesterday and noticed his car was missing, I logged on to the tracker and located him at, where else?—Home Depot. Quelle suprise!
Short of drilling a hole in his credit card and attaching it to his belt on a long chain the way truckers do with their wallets, this Air Tracker seems to be a marvellous invention. If we were more technologically sophisticated, we could eliminate credit cards altogether and tap our phones to pay for things. That’s a lesson for another day, perhaps when one of the grandchildren visits.
We took this tracking precaution a step further. We were particularly horrified by the car-jacking of hockey player Mitch Marner’s vehicle in the parking lot of a movie theatre in Toronto’s west end that we go to on a regular basis. So, we had trackers installed in our car by a professional auto supply company. Much to our chagrin, however, the same week we had the vehicle trackers installed, there was a huge exposé in the newspaper about the lack of police response to car-jackings, even when the owners provide the exact location of stolen vehicles through trackers.
Then, last week it was announced that there was a major take-down of car thieves and the retrieval of millions of dollars worth of cars. The theft ring included several Service Ontario employees who were forging documentation. Life’s a constant challenge against criminals, isn’t it?
Technology drives me crazy most of the time, but it does have its value. I had a minor meltdown when my debit card didn’t work with a cartload of shopping at Costco the other day, but a trip to the bank got me a new one (the old one had expired) immediately. Meanwhile, I now feel somewhat safer thanks to these little devices. You can name each one according to where it is located, such as Lynda’s Wallet, Dog, Lynda’s Car Keys, and Hubby’s wallet. There’s even a nifty little avatar for each. There are further features which I have yet to learn.
When I checked my iPad this morning, it confirmed that hubby was at the golf course, not the casino or enjoying a little rendevous at a secret girlfriend’s place. I can almost tell what hole he’s on.
If the dog, who is also microchipped, goes walkabouts I know exactly how far she’s gone and where to find her, hopefully before she gets snatched by dog thieves. If hubby misplaces his wallet, we can locate it or, if necessary, disable his cards. I bought a four-pack of Air Tag trackers for $129.00 but they’re available individually for $39.00 each. For every problem, there is a solution, even for straying husbands.
Word of caution
Trackers create plenty of opportunities for unethical use of the devices by criminals and unscrupulous individuals. While they may have value for keeping track of an elderly relative with dementia or Alzheimer’s who may be inclined to take unsupervised nighttime jaunts, they should never be used to track unsuspecting individuals without their consent. Parents may be tempted to hide a tracker in the car when their teenager goes out on a Saturday night. Suspicious or jealous spouses may subject their partner to unauthorized tracking, and abusers may use these devices for similar unethical purposes. I am in no way advocating misuse or covert tracking of individuals and stress that I am a fan insofar as they are being used ethically and for finding lost items only.
(Disclosure: You will receive Amazon’s best price and I may receive a teeny tiny commission. Thank you.).