This Article first appeared in the Dawn Magazine Lessening Your Loss
Losing one’s belongings by accident or even by a more common occurrence in some parts of our country — being deprived of them by force — brings with it a great deal of nuisance and anguish. The levels of anxiety may vary depending on what, where and how you’ve lost them but they most certainly increase manifold when you’ve realised they’ve been misused.
It is rare to find someone within your circle of family, friends or even colleagues who has not lost something. Among the items most commonly lost are; documents such as CNIC, driving license, passport, vehicle registration papers, debit or credit cards, mobile SIMs and keys.
The consequence at times can be far reaching. It is not unheard of to find that a lost or stolen mobile SIM has been used to commit a crime and the legal owner ends up being dragged through a police investigation.
Similarly, any transactions made through a banking instrument such as credit and debit cards or a cheque prior to it being reported lost is at the expense of the customer. Banks will only take responsibility for transactions made after you’ve reported the loss to them.Missing keys, depending on what they are for, can expose you to losses that you may not immediately realise. It is quite common to find house keys attached to a car key ring. If the car is taken away you end up giving the bandit access to your home unwillingly and unwittingly.
So now that you’ve (hopefully) been scared straight, here’s what you can do to lessen the impact of these losses:
• Make clear photocopies of all important documents and keep them securely in a couple of places such as the home or office or even with a trusted relative or friend.
• Softcopies of documents should be made if possible and stored securely on a data drive or online.
• Keep a secure yet easily accessible record of all credit/debit cards with the corresponding banks’ helpline number.
• Maintain a directory of important numbers (police, bank, insurance, office, doctor etc)
• Immediately notify the relevant authority, organisation and insurer of the loss of the item.
• Door locks must instantly be replaced if their keys are lost.
• Ensure that at least one other responsible member of the family knows what to do in the event of a loss.
While preparation helps lessen the impact of the eventual loss, it is the actions taken in the immediate aftermath that will spare one further discomfort.
Here are the actions you need to take once aware of a loss:
Immediately file a report at the nearest police station for a missing/lost CNIC mentioning the exact date, time and location of the loss. If unsure on the precise details, mention the last time you recall using it.
Issue a replacement CNIC from the nearest NADRA office. For the older CNICs a police report is not mandatory, but for the newer chip based ones it is.
In case of a School/College/University/ Office ID cards loss, notify the relevant contact immediately. Remember you need to prevent others from using a school card to collect your children.
Immediately file a report at the nearest police station. Issue a replacement from the driving license branch where the original one was issued at the earliest. Driving without a license is a crime.
Documentation required for reissuing a license may vary among the licensing authorities.
The following are always required:
A copy of the police report. Do carry the original with you as it may need to be shown.
A copy of the lost license.
Immediately file a FIR (First Information Report) at the nearest police station
Inform all concerned Embassy/ Consulates whose valid visas were stamped on the passport.
Retain copies of the FIR and letter to Embassy notifying the loss of the passport for future visa processing.
Documents required for reissuing a lost passport:
• Original & copy of FIR
• Copy of lost passport (if available)
• Original & copy of CNIC required
Debit & credit cards
Immediately call the bank helpline and block the card. Have the card number available to provide to the helpline. In case you don’t have debit/credit card numbers, provide your CNIC number or T-pin. In this case you may be asked for further verifications such as last transaction/s, registered phone number, office or home address or mother’s maiden name.
Cheques & bank drafts
Immediately call the bank helpline and inform of loss and request a block. Visit the bank branch to obtain replacements. Remember that banks are required to see the original CNIC at the time of issuing the cheque book.
Vehicle & documents
Immediately call the police helpline and inform of the loss.
If the vehicle is insured, inform the insurance firm immediately.
File a police report with the relevant police station (seek guidance from the helpline as to which police station’s jurisdiction the incident occurred in) If only the documents of the vehicle have been lost, file a police complaint. Obtain a replacement by submitting a copy of the police report. If the original is required then ensure you retain a copy of the report.
Mobile & SIM
Immediately call the concerned mobile operator and block the SIM. Replacement SIM will only be provided to the registered owner of the SIM.
Immediately change the locks if your house keys are lost. Do not bring a locksmith to the house to make a duplicate key for the lock.
If a duplicate key must be made, then always take it to the locksmith yourself and have it made in front of you. Do not leave the key with the locksmith and collect it afterwards.
The key to reporting and replacing loss items is to know what you lost, when you lost it and how. Only then will you be successful in limiting the potential damage.
Norbert Almeida is a security advisor.