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Ask Slashdot: Why Do So Many of You Think Carrying Cash Is 'Dangerous'? 660

An anonymous reader writes: Recently, I asked Slashdot what you thought about paying for things online using plastic, and the security of using plastic in general; thank you all for your many and varied responses, they're all much appreciated and gave me things to consider.

However, I got quite a few responses that puzzled me: People claiming that paying for things with cash, and carrying any amount of cash around at all, was somehow dangerous, that I'd be "robbed," and that I shouldn't carry cash at all, only plastic. I'm Gen-Y; I've walked around my entire life, in all sorts of places, and have never been approached or robbed by anyone, so I'm more than a little puzzled by that.

So now I ask you, Slashdotters: Why do you think carrying cash is so dangerous? Where do you live/spend your time that you worry so much about being robbed? Have you been robbed before, and that's why you feel this way? I'm not going to stop carrying cash in my wallet but I'd like to understand why it is so many of you feel this way -- so please be thorough in your explanations.
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Ask Slashdot: Why Do So Many of You Think Carrying Cash Is 'Dangerous'?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 13, 2017 @06:44PM (#54804429)

    I was robbed by a millennial looking to raise money for a gender reassignment operation

    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Friday July 14, 2017 @05:18AM (#54806975)

      While budgeting and purchasing it makes sense to treat it like your money. But when you buy with a credit card, the bank buys the product, and you owe the bank.
      So if your card is stolen and charges were put on it. You are not responsible but the bank needs to deal with the theft of their money. (Normally they have insurance)
      Now having to prove off those charges is annoying but it is possible. Vs having your cash lost where your money is gone for good.

      Now a lot of time you may lose your cash without the typical robbery.
      Someone at the store could see you are distracted and skim off some change.
      You can lose your wallet/purse by many means. And someone can just take the cash out of it.
      Or you can just have cash fall out. Haven't you found a fiver on the ground before?
      Then those pennies that you put in the give a penny.

      Cash is just not safe, other payment options at least have some safety features in them.

      • Friend, I'm no Millennial, I'm Gen-Y, and long before debit cards, and long before anyone gave me a credit card, I used cash. I'm back to it because there are too many data breaches and POS systems being compromised (a couple of which *I* used, and had to get a new debit card). I carry less than $100 at a time. I don't go to high-risk areas usually, and if I do no one bothers me because I don't look or act like a victim and don't do stupid risky things. I don't like having my purchasing habits tracked by an
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 13, 2017 @06:47PM (#54804445)

    If a thief can tell from a distance whether you are carrying cash or credit cards, well, you are holding it wrong.

    • Not the ones that you tuck into your pants like you see being pushed for travelers -- you can get money belts that are legitimate belts, with a zipper on the back side. Search for 'leather money belt', and you should find lots.

      But as I've gone through quite a few through the years, some tips:

      • Don't buy the 'cut it down to size yourself' ones. They're a PITA to get everything right, and I've had one rip free on me when I tightened it down too much
      • You want the pull to be on the buckle side when closed. Thi
  • Cash never fails. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 13, 2017 @06:48PM (#54804451)

    To the people who think carrying cash is dangerous: cash never fails to complete a transaction.

    When your card gets declined, in some circumstances, you may get arrested. So there's another form of "dangerous" when relying solely on plastic as a form of payment.

    • Re:Cash never fails. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 13, 2017 @06:53PM (#54804511)
      I was at a grocery store a few weeks ago, the power was out. Much to my surprise, they stayed open and I purchased my groceries - those with no cash couldn't buy anything as the old slide card machines no longer exist I guess.
      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        LAst time I was in a power outage, they did pull out the old sliders. Most places still have them, though in many cases, buried in a box in the manager's office nobody knows about.
        • by dknj ( 441802 )

          going away, my current credit cards won't leave an imprint

          • by slew ( 2918 )

            going away, my current credit cards won't leave an imprint

            This is Visa's official stance on this...

            U.S. merchants who work in the face-to-face sales environment may include CVV2 in the authorization request for U.S. domestic key-entered transactions in lieu of taking a manual card imprint. The CVV2 with Magnetic-Stripe Failures process is applicable to all card products when the magnetic-stripe fails at the point of sale (e.g., embossed cards, unembossed cards, vertical cards and cards with customized designs).

            If an unembossed card will not swipe and the chip cannot be read, you should ask for another form of payment. Do not manually key enter unembossed cards (unless you participate in the CVV2 with Magnetic-Stripe Failures process), or write the account number on a paper draft. A marked paper draft will not protect a merchant against chargebacks.

            Of course, if you can't call in to get an authorization (e.g., power out), you are SOL...

      • Re:Cash never fails. (Score:4, Informative)

        by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @07:53PM (#54804983)

        those with no cash couldn't buy anything as the old slide card machines no longer exist I guess.

        They don't need the "old sliders" for paper imprints that may or may not be valid sales. They can use a Square device on a cell phone. No wall power needed.

    • While it's generally true that cash doesn't fail, I have been in a few places that declined cash and took plastic only, at least experimentally. It reduces security costs and reduces the opportunities for employees to steal.

      • Re:Cash never fails. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by spoot ( 104183 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @07:14PM (#54804711) Homepage

        Here in Austin, there are a few establishments that don't accept cash, only plastic. Chi'Lantro [] comes to mind. And although they are right up the street, I don't go anymore. You won't accept my greenbacks, I'll take my biz elsewhere. (going back to yelling at the clouds now)

  • by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @06:48PM (#54804459)

    Limit the amount of cash you bring into the nudie bar, 'cause you won't be leaving with any.

    Protip: The Bundy Dollar...

  • I carry cash. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kurt555gs ( 309278 ) <{kurt555gs} {at} {}> on Thursday July 13, 2017 @06:49PM (#54804465) Homepage

    I don't feel comfortable if I go out with at least a couple hundred in cash with me. Always have. If you get robbed throwing a significant roll and running the other way is the safest thing you can do. Thieves hate it if they only get five bucks. Of course I forgot to mention that I also carry a gun. ( Legally with a concealed carry license ).

    • The old distract with chaff and return fire ploy eh?
    • Re:I carry cash. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by skids ( 119237 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @07:03PM (#54804607) Homepage

      Scenario A

      1) Crack head needs $20 for a hit, ASAP
      2) Crack head holds you up for $50
      3) Crack head leaves to go buy crack

      Scenario B

      1) Crack head needs $20 for a hit, ASAP
      2) Crack head holds you up for $4.35
      3) Crack head takes you at gunpoint to an ATM
      4) Crack head robs you for $350
      5) Crack head laves to go buy crack

    • the old "gypsy bankroll"....several $1 rolled on top by two $20 and secured "mafia-style" with a rubber band.
  • Several reasons... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dbwells ( 4978689 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @06:51PM (#54804483)
    Like any decision, it isn't just cost, but cost/benefit. If I basically never need cash, why carry it? The risk is really small, sure, but the benefit is small, too. Second, I misplace things.
    • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @10:44PM (#54805971) Homepage

      In a capitalist society, cash is freedom. Being cashless is to become a slave, you no longer buy anything, you ask permission from your master to have it, your master can say no at any time and you will never realise or accept that until it happens and you are now screwed.

      Why do people claim cash is unsafe because credit card companies pay public relations and marketing agencies to fucking lie for them. They are basically a pack of parasites who scam a profit from turnover they contribute nothing to, basically stealing middle men. As such they pay millions upon millions in advertising to make their percentage thefts of your money desirable. Oh noes if you carry cash, the banditoes will hunt you down and kill you for it, on noes you wont get cash discounts when buying stuff, ohh wait that's the wrong way round, ignore that one.

      Cash, it's what you use, if you want tradesmen to turn up when you want them, it's what you use when you want a good, quick job done and maybe a few extra's thrown in for free and it is also what you use when you want a way better price (often half of the alternative price) and it is also what you use when you do not want to pay the credit card parasites any real money.

      Why the push for cashless, master and slaves in capitalism, that's why and slaves do not have cash, they only carry a permission slip from their master. Want a cashless society, get rid of capitalism first.

    • Cash Drawbacks
      - No payment trace
      - Might be stolen (without any insurance)
      - Heavier (than a card), usually
      - Might carry some previous owner's diseases

      Cash Advantages
      - No payment trace
      - Might be easily donated/given
      - Heavier (than a card), usually - you know where it is
      - Might carry some previous owner's fragrance
  • Which makes it a more desirable target than credit cards or checks. That's why it's more dangerous to carry than the alternatives.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      OP here,
      First they have to know I'm carrying cash. Second, I have to be somewhere that I'm going to get mugged. Third, I have to be stupid enough overall to create the circumstances where it'll happen (flashing it around, etc). I don't look like I carry up to $100 in my wallet. In over 50 years of life 'getting robbed' has never been a concern, and it's never happened. I have little worries about that. Meanwhile using cash for day-to-day purchases protects my accounts and my privacy too. Consider that.
    • Which makes it a more desirable target than credit cards or checks. That's why it's more dangerous to carry than the alternatives.

      We now live in a cashless society. There's likely only a 5% chance of a thief even finding someone with cash on their person, so your fear makes absolutely no sense.

      You have a larger chance of your credit card or identity being stolen in the environment we live in today. Because to this, I don't even know why we're having this conversation.

    • And how would a potential robber know if you carry cash and how much?

      • by Altrag ( 195300 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @08:09PM (#54805099)

        I don't know.. perhaps they see you buy something with cash? Or you're thumbing through your wallet for some reason.. or any number of other ways they might notice.

        But the way you can look at it is not "having more cash makes it more likely to get robbed," but "if I get robbed, having more cash will mean a bigger loss." If someone steals your credit or debit (and I mean physically robbing you of course, as they would do for cash) you just call up your bank and cancel it. Even if the thief has managed to use it, those companies insure against theft (especially the CC companies) and you generally get refunded. And their usage of it also makes it easier for the police to track them down if you're privileged enough for the police to care about you.

        Whereas if the robber takes a couple fresh hundred dollar bills, you will definitely never see that money again.

        Remember, risk is not just probability of an event happening.. its probability of it happening multiplied by the incurred cost.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @06:53PM (#54804499)

    ... if you are a government that feels the need to monitor it's citizens every move. But for them to come out and say that cash is bad would just tip their hand. So they brainwash a few people into spreading the propaganda for them. With reasons like "You'll get robbed" and "Cash is only for illegal transactions".

    Pretty soon, enough weak-minded people will believe this and plead with the government to please come and take their cash and replace it with something that leaves an audit trail.

    • by eaglesrule ( 4607947 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @08:15PM (#54805153)

      On the other hand you have the omnipresent corporations vying to create a perfect profile of you and your spending habits. Anonymous transactions would be the natural enemy of those who sell your consumer information to insurance companies, for example, so I suppose it is to be expected to see shill posts downplaying the benefits of carrying cash.

      Personally, I use credit and a store loyalty card for buying healthy food, and cash only for junk food and alcohol. I may not be able to control where my data ends up, but at least I can fuck with it.

    • Cops Steal Cash (Score:5, Informative)

      by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Thursday July 13, 2017 @08:34PM (#54805289) Homepage Journal

      If you have a lot of cash, that's "evidence" of drug crimes, even absent drugs, and the cops will take your money, put it on trial (cash is bad at defending itself and does not get an attorney), and buy boats, pinball machines and hookers with your money.

      ^ None of that is an exaggeration. []

    • Once you are all linked up electronically without cash, they can simply take all of your assets. To a large extent they can do that today, but a lack of cash leaves you no other options.

      I don't think cash is dangerous at all. I don't carry a bit wad around, but always have some handy. Cash IMHO is as important as guns in terms of personal liberty.

    • Carry a cell phone? Audit trail.
      Drive a car? Audit trail.
      Walk on the sidewalk? Audit trail (with the amount of CCTV)

      Remember, stores are now tracking who you are and what you buy by using facial recognition on their security cameras. []
      short of not wearing ANY electronics and having on a ski mask at all times.... then you'd be marked as an oddity and promptly scrutinized.
  • m Gen-Y; I've walked around my entire life, in all sorts of places, and have never been approached or robbed by anyone

    If you want to play that game.... I would point out, that i've been approached on multiple occasions by people asking for cash, and I've heard from 5 or 6 different friends/acquaintenances
    (a majority of these acquaintenaces female...) who at some time within the past 9 or 10 years that were mugged, robbed, or attempted to be robbed under threat of violence at gunpoint at different pla

  • by brokenin2 ( 103006 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @06:53PM (#54804509) Homepage least of cash like you're talking about..

    I've also always heard people say it was dangerous to carry cash, but I don't think it is that much.. At least for robbery.. I know myself though, and I'd be sure to accidentally lose it if I carried cash.. Nobody to blame but myself, but it's still "dangerous" for me to carry cash.

    My dad always carried cash though, and one time in the early years of his dementia he got lost (forgot where he parked) and ended up wandering around town. He's diabetic, and his blood sugar got way off exacerbating the situation. Some good samaritans stopped to help him out when he started looking like he had a real problem, and ended up searching his wallet to try to figure out how to help him (calling family or whatever).. When it was all said and done, at least three different complete strangers had dug through his wallet in their efforts to try to help him. When we met up at the hospital later and security passed his belongings along to us, we found that he had a little over $1000 dollars in his wallet still. Now, I have no idea for sure what he started with, but I'm pretty sure it was exactly what he still had in there at the end of the day.

    The whole incident really made me rethink that whole "people are always trying to steal from you" mentality that we get pounded into us by the pessimists of society. I think generally people almost always do the right thing when given the chance, which I guess includes not robbing you of your cash in your wallet.

    • A nice story. I accidentally left my wallet on top of my car (and I can't blame dementia for that). Someone actually spotted it as it fell off, picked it up, chased after me in their car, and returned it. The wallet had a hundred or two in cash at least, I'm sure. I gave them a small cash reward as thanks, and they were even reluctant to take that. Good people do exist in the world. You just don't hear about them, because they go about living their lives quietly, not making headlines.

      Generally speakin

    • Most people aren't trying to steal from you. But you're around a lot of people, and it only takes one.

      That's why, if you want your photo taken on your phone, it's OK to ask a bystander to do it, chances are very high that a random person YOU choose won't run off with the phone. But if someone offers to take your photo (with your phone), you should say no.

  • by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @06:55PM (#54804527)
    If they had money they'd carry cash. Me? I've got between $100 and $200 on me most of the time. When I'm down to $100 I hit the ATM.
    • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Friday July 14, 2017 @03:21AM (#54806653)

      Cash is also a good limit on your spending. If I only have $10 left, I will not be buying that expensive lunch, I'll put the souvenir back on the shelf, etc. Having to run to the ATM to get money does keep one frugal. Still a serious problem in the US are younger people who quickly get into credit card debt, despite just about every school trying to teach financial responsibility in civics classes. It keeps the repo guys in business I guess.

  • First of all, depending on how one carries their cash and how much is needed to complete the transaction, you may need to pull it out into view of others who can then count or estimate how much you have and if you're worth robbing. Obviously, the mugger is going to use other metrics but telegrapgibg how much you have on you just makes it easier for them.

    Second, if my cards are stolen, I am not liable for any transactions. If my cash is stolen, it is jist gone.

    That said, cash can be very useful to have from

    • by skids ( 119237 )

      That's a fine approach if you don't frequent establishments that don't want to pay the merchant vigorish. long as you also carry your damn grocery store loyalty card as well instead of making us all wait while you type in your phone number. I mean, how hard is it to carry one additional piece of plastic the same size and shape?

  • It's not dangerous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by quonset ( 4839537 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @06:56PM (#54804537)

    I carry cash when I need to spend it, not simply to have something in my pocket, and not once has anyone, anywhere, ever tried to rob me.

    Those whiners who think carrying cash is dangerous are the same ones who will whine about how dangerous flying in planes is when there's a crash. That completely ignores the 10,000 other takeoffs and landings which took place that same day without an issue.

    What is dangerous is carrying a cell phone. Between running into objects [] or distracted driving [] because you're engrossed with whatever text message you're trying read/send, having a cell phone is orders of magnitude more dangerous than carrying cash. This doesn't even include people robbing you of your cell phone which then gives them access to your accounts because you've conveniently put all that information on your phone.

    The question becomes, which is worse: losing the few dollars you had in your pocket, or giving someone access to all your bank accounts?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 13, 2017 @06:56PM (#54804541)

    I'm not afraid of carrying cash in smaller amounts; but, if you carry large amounts of cash and are pulled over and the police find out about it, odds are they will confiscate it and you will never get it back. It's the new highway robbery. I'm not gonna do the Google search for you but there are plenty of cases.

  • by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <gameboyrmh@gma i l .com> on Thursday July 13, 2017 @06:56PM (#54804551) Journal

    You could put your whole life savings in a backpack, and if you didn't let anyone see that your backpack was full of cash, you'd be in no greater danger at all than carrying an equal volume of anything else in your backpack. But what if someone just randomly stole your backpack? The odds of this happening weren't any greater than if you packed the backpack full of dead weasels, but you would've just lost your life savings.

    So I usually don't carry more than $200 in my wallet to keep the risk down, but there's nothing inherently dangerous about carrying cash, unless you let other people know how that you're carrying a remarkably large amount of cash. Flashing large amounts of cash is dangerous.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This is the same logic I use to justify why I don't put all my cash in a bank.

  • by davecb ( 6526 ) <> on Thursday July 13, 2017 @06:59PM (#54804577) Homepage Journal
    My mother was afraid I'd be killed if I moved to a big city, as she saw far more bad news in the paper from the city of Toronto than, say, the hamlet of Coatsworth. I'm pretty sure she'd fall for the "don't carry cash" line if you tried it on her.
  • I don't (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Misagon ( 1135 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @07:00PM (#54804581)

    Maybe I would be concerned if I was carrying around a larger amount of cash, but I almost never do.

    I am more worried about losing my only card, which is both my debit card and my ATM card, as my bank is making it difficult for me to have multiple cards tied to the same account at the same time.
    If I get robbed of a little cash but have my card, I could still withdraw some more.

    I don't keep cash and cards together. The common recommendation of what to do if you get robbed is to throw the money on the ground and run. Then the robbers will go for the cash and not you.
    If all you have is a card, then the robbers will stomp on you until you give them your PIN number, and they will hold you down while another robber withdraws as much as he can from your account.

  • by Pollux ( 102520 ) <speter@t e d a t a> on Thursday July 13, 2017 @07:01PM (#54804591) Journal

    I know someone who was the victim of a purse snatch. Purse found in a back alley just a few blocks away, and all the perp took was cash. I also know a family member who had his debit card stolen and about $1,200 of purchases racked up on it in 24 hours. (Yes, he only had $50 in liability, but he said the time spent on jumping through every phone call and piece of paperwork was a pain.) Your money is just as much at risk in either scenario.

    As for me, I hardly ever carry cash. Not because I'm afraid to, but because it's a lifestyle choice. If I have cash in my pocket, I'm far more likely to spend it, as well as spend it on unnecessary things, and not keep track of how much I have left. Though, I know many who say the same about debit cards.

    So, I guess, to each their own.

  • I usually have $500 on me, split between my wallet/money clip and my backpack. I rarely use it though, as the credit card gives me money back.

    For some random reason a few years back I had to walk a few blocks with $100k in cash on me-- I had to transfer the money between banks for immediate availability. That was a little more on the uncomfortable side, although I was more worried about dropping it that being mugged.

  • Paris (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tailhook ( 98486 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @07:04PM (#54804615)

    Robbed on the Metro. They can spot foreigners and know that foreigners carry cash because only idiots travel without cash. Got hit in the ribs and lost $900. Got beat for a bike once. I don't mention the nice things I own to people; one of their menace kids gets wind of it and they'll dwell on it for years, watching for an opening. Saw this happen twice to my father, once to an uncle and also a former employer.

    If you're a healthy young male living the dream on the posh side of town during daylight hours no one will mess with you. The minute you venture outside your little safespace or appear vulnerable at the wrong time they'll jump your ass. Flash some cash in a liquor store some time. You'll find out. You claim experience in "all sorts of places" but I'll bet that anyone goofy enough to pose this question on Slashdot hasn't got clue number one.

  • by thevirtualcat ( 1071504 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @07:10PM (#54804671)

    All other things being equal, a mugger is just as likely to take your credit card as they are your cash. (It's usually "give me your wallet," not "give me your cash.") In terms of physical danger, there is no difference. In terms of financial risk, with cash, whatever they buy is courtesy of you. With credit cards, whatever they buy is courtesy of your bank. (Assuming you report the card stolen as soon as you are able, anyway.)

    It all comes down to risk assessment. If you live in a place where such crimes are prevalent (or if you're prone to losing your wallet,) choose the option that ultimately ends up being someone else's money.

  • Honestly, I'd rather have cash on me. Someone robbing me is acting antisocially and violently, and that makes them inherently unpredictable. What do they want? Not a bit of plastic that I can cancel the minute they walk away. Are they sophisticated enough to want my ID to use for identity theft? Nope. Identity thieves pull that crap all the time without having to carry the risk of getting violent with a stranger in public. They steal it electronically.

    So ... they might want cash. I'm not sure, but it's a re

  • I've noticed this, too, about the millennials.

    With my N24 sleep disorder (three decades before I found the cure), I spent many long hours of my young adult life walking around on the streets at night (sure, Toronto sounds safe, but it had then one of the largest Italian populations in the world, as was certainly evident from the not-infrequent black limousine Sundays in my part of town; there was one "corner store" I stepped into, and out of again, after a single-pass 1978-vintage Cylon double take).


  • I am happy to carry around limited cash, i.e. maybe a hundred dollars , and thats typically when I am travelling. However in the UK,EU and US we found larger denominations were checked for forgeries, often by a supervisor, that it became the slowest way to pay for anything, or if you stuck to smaller notes they were simply bulky.

    At home I use plastic, "tap-n-go" its quick, its reliable, it also means I don't have to carry coins which are even more bulky and heavy than notes.

    Its less "security" than "con
    • Can only speak for myself but I like my privacy and cash gives me that, can't track purchasing habits on me if I pay cash. Also no worries about compromised POS terminals or systems. It's worth the minimal risk so far as I'm concerned.
  • Cash is dangerous (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lazlo ( 15906 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @07:14PM (#54804703) Homepage

    Cash can be slightly dangerous. It's a much better vector for the spread of diseases than plastic, or NFC. Getting mugged is very bad, but very rare. Getting the flu is probably less bad, but much more common.

  • Cash is bad for VISA/MC/ApplePay transaction fees....
    Cash is bad to tax collectors....
    Cash is bad for government creepers that like to spy on you while you move your money around....
    Cash is bad for affiliates that like the buy your name, contact information, and purchase history so they can create a profile and market to you....

    Cash is good for privacy and getting things done.

  • Carrying cash is dangerous because hookers go through your wallet when you're not looking, and you generally leave your wallet in your pants when you get naked...
  • by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @07:19PM (#54804743)

    If you encounter a criminal, losing couple of hundred bucks is the least of your concerns. You want to quickly give criminals enough value to persuade them to leave you and your harder to replace possessions alone. Just don't show large amounts of cash in public.

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @07:23PM (#54804775) Homepage

    100 years ago, there was no such thing as plastic and checks were untrustworthy. To buy most things, you had to carry cash. Worse, banks were not open 24/7, and was inconvenient. Say you go on vacation. A good vacation now a day can easily cost you $1000 a week, plus transportation. Say $2,500 for a two week vacation. Family of four, double that to $5,000.

    Would you walk around with $5,000 in your pocket today? If everyone around you KNEW that you are holding that kind of cash? In a warm, tropical country where people could live for a year on that kind of cash?

    Before the modern financial methods - credit and checks, walking around with cash WAS dangerous. Very dangerous. That was why travelers checks became popular. Eventually other methods caught up and became just as trusted and accepted. So you don't have to carry a lot of it.

    But 100 years ago, walking around with cash was freakin' dangerous. Now, it is pretty darn safe because we carry much less cash, and the potential muggers know it.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      If you do carry a wad of cash, here's a tip from an old-timer: keep the small denominations on the outside. If you have a fat wad of cash with a $20 on the outside, if someone sees you handling it they'll think it's a wad of $20s.

      Also, keeping a sacrificial wad is a good idea: all ones with a $20 on the outside. If you're mugged you throw it and run the other way.

  • by sunking2 ( 521698 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @07:30PM (#54804843)
    Of what used to be a halfway decent excuse of a tech website.
  • by kondro ( 614476 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @07:53PM (#54804993) Homepage
    Having a few hundred in your pocket is nothing compared to the $1000 phone, $1000 tablet, $3000 computer, etc that we're all carrying around with us and display very visibly.
  • by DERoss ( 1919496 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @08:10PM (#54805109)

    I have never been mugged or forcibly robbed. While vacationing in Washington DC, however, my pocket was picked. My wallet contained about $150 in cash, driver's license, Visa card, Medicare card, and some cherished family photos. By the time I contacted Visa, the pickpocket had exhausted my credit limit. Yes, Visa cancelled the card and sent me a new one, but they did not cancel the bogus charges for several days. Thus, my new card was worthless. We had to put our hotel bill and charge our meals on my wife's Master Card. Before the new card arrived, I went to a credit union that was on the same Service Center network as the credit union where I have an account and was able to get $200 from my checking account without having to write a check. (The Service Center concept is like going into Wells Fargo and making a withdrawal or deposit for a Bank of America account.) For me, cash is always available while plastic might have a delay several days if there is a problem.

    I always try to keep at least $40 in my wallet. If I get that low, I visit a no-fee ATM (also a credit union feature) and get $100 to $120 more. On the other hand, my wife rarely has more than $20 in her purse. She writes many checks for less than $10.

    As for the pickpocket having my Medicare Card, I had already used a hole punch to remove all the digits of my Medicare number. After all, my Medicare number is also my Social Security number. A California driver's license does not contain a Social Security number. Thus, I was protected against identity theft.

    We traveled from Washington DC to Chicago via Amtrak. While still in Washington, I notified the travel agent through whom I had booked the trip. To fly home from Chicago, I had no ID -- no wallet -- for airport security. My travel agent had notified the airline; and I cleared security more quickly than did my wife, who had her driver's license for ID. I was not able to replace my stolen driver's license until I returned to California.

    As requested by Visa, I filed a crime report with the Washington DC police department. The pickpocket had charged some $7,000 for merchandise at an electronics store. In many jurisdictions, this is grand theft, a felony. Since this was apparently a local independent store, I thought the police might actually be able to identify the culprit. When I mailed a letter to the DC police department several weeks later asking about the crime, I receive no response.

  • by Lacrocivious Acropho ( 741314 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @08:15PM (#54805149)

    CorpGov wants to track everyone. Everywhere. Always. Cash is difficult to monitor. With your Personal Tracking Device in your pocket, and your identify-linking electronic purchases absolutely tagged to you and you alone, CorpGov feasts. They get to do whatever they want with everything you do that they can track, and what is more definitive and commercially valuable than what you buy? And where? And when? So of course CorpGov is doing everything it can to sow the seeds of doubt about the safety of carrying cash, which they cannot so easily track. As if they held your interests in mind at all, let alone paramount. 'Cash Is Dangerous' is true to the degree that you are Sheeple.

  • manufactured danger (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cas2000 ( 148703 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @08:17PM (#54805171)

    cash is dangerous because visa and mastercard don't get their cut of small transactions like buying a coffee, nor can they track your location and spending habits to enhance the value of the data about you that they sell.

    so they force paypass/paywave on everyone by making it impossible to get even a debit card without them, and then spend a lot on advertising to let everyone know how dangerous and scary and inconvenient cash is.

  • by drtsystems ( 775462 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @08:19PM (#54805195)

    As is mentioned elsewhere, its not that one gives off an aura of having cash (although there are surely signs, such as looking like a tourist). I was mugged when two guys overheard me and a friend talking about getting cash out of an ATM to go to the casino. Low and behold, I found myself knocked unconscious in a park without my wallet (and that $1,000 in cash I had in there) and my phone.

    If you live your life in the suburbs driving to each destination, you probably are at low risk of being mugged. When you live in a city or frequent one, while still not a huge worry, it is a risk that you take. I know probably a handful of people who have been mugged. Its honestly not something I walk around worrying about, but doing things like talking about cash or going to the ATM are definitely going to raise your risk.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @08:20PM (#54805207) Homepage

    Because crackheads love cash and need it for more crack.

  • by dark.nebulae ( 3950923 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @08:38PM (#54805313)

    You want to carry some cash, like $40 or something, in case you actually do get robbed.

    Someone hard up for cash that is desperate enough to walk up and mug you will be even more aggressive if they get nothing out of it.

    Having some token cash to turn over will satisfy their immediate need and usually end the transaction without physical harm.

  • Yes, but I don't (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @09:17PM (#54805503)

    Yes, I have been robbed. But I don't have even the slightest fear of carrying cash. I think I'm safer carrying at least a couple of 20s -- you never know when an emergency happens, and cards don't work for every situation, where cash does.

    Here's the thing -- criminals don't know if I'm carrying cash or not until they rob me, and if I'm being robbed, losing my cash would be the least of my problems. Losing my ID, phone, and various important cards in my wallet are much, much larger problems, and that would happen whether or not I have cash.

  • by XSportSeeker ( 4641865 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @10:17PM (#54805843)

    That really depends on where you live.

    For instance, here in Brazil, in some cities, you are supposed to carry around a bit of cash...
    The reason goes beyond the idea that is dangerous to carry cash around.
    It's because if criminals get to you and you have no money to give away, you might end up beaten, kidnapped or even dead.
    I'm not joking. There are some cities in Brazil, particularly the biggest and most densely packed, in which people understand things that way.
    I have a bunch of relatives living in Sao Paulo that all say the same thing.
    I'll visit them every year, but I'd never live there.

    There are several things to consider here regarding your security in cases of armed robbery. Drug users could be desperate and not having cash could be pretty bad. If you only have credit cards and whatnot, criminals could take you in what's known as "flash kidnapping", taking you to ATMs to forcibly get money out at gun point. We have multiple cases like that every years. I have one relative that was involved in a traffic accident, criminals took the chance to mug him, but as he didn't have more than 10 bucks on him at the time they also decided to beat him up.

    Then again, carrying too much money around all the time to places on your daily routine is a dead giveaway that you are loaded. I've seen cases time and time again of people who carried money and paid in cash everywhere getting robbed or even worse because criminals learned about their routines.
    Oh, it's probably also a big reason why tourists gets mugged a lot in touristic cities around here... happens all the time in Rio de Janeiro beaches, only it's a bunch of people running around taking everything they see from tourists and beachgoers in something called "arrastao". Yes, we even have a name for it, as we have a specific word for robbery followed by assassination - "latrocinio".

    These sorts of things probably happens less often in US, Canada, UK and whatnot, but hey, learn from the crappier countries' experience. xD

  • by ledow ( 319597 ) on Friday July 14, 2017 @03:09AM (#54806625) Homepage

    I don't carry cash. Never really have.

    Never been mugged. Other people I know have.
    Never lost my wallet. Other people I know have.

    If I'm forced to use cash, I draw out as little as possible.

    It's not because "Oh, no, someone might mug me". Cancelling cards and trying to remember what else you had in there is a pain in the arse no matter what, even if they don't have the PIN.

    It's because... I don't need cash. And it's easily lost / forgotten. And it takes up space. And inevitably the second I use that note, I end up with a bunch of coins and have nowhere to put them (no coin pocket on wallet = MUCH smaller wallet). And if I want a bunch of coins, I would have to get a note, then go find change.

    I work on the principle that this is 2017. I haven't *needed* cash since at last 2000. Sure, I've used it. Sure, it's come in handy. Sure, some things are easier with cash (e.g. paying for parking). But in general, it's not necessary.

    And if a place doesn't take card but only takes cash - that's their business decision. If I happen to have some, I'll use that service if I want it. If not, I'll go elsewhere. I can buy everything from a loaf of bread to a house with a card. But cash is just a pain in the arse. Even if people take cash, it changes often, and they might not take notes, or coins, or certain denominations (50 GBP notes are notorious for refusal, let's not even get into Bank of Scotland notes).

    Rather than faff about carrying around heavy little tokens to represent small parts of the number of what was in my bank account, I can just... use a card that does the same, is reusable, usable online, usable offline, smaller, lighter, easier to deal with, recorded (comes in handy when someone says "how much did that cost" or "did that get paid"), doesn't take up my entire pocket, and works in pretty much the same places.

    Remember when we used to read sci-fi stories about "credits" stored on tokens that worked anywhere in the world/galaxy? I've got one in my pocket. In fact, I've got a couple of different ones. And they can only be used by myself.

    If I go into London, I don't give a second thought to how I'm going to pay. I don't need to plan, or take money out, or guess at how much I'll need. If I go into the middle of nowhere and need a sandwich, it works just the same too. There are few exceptions nowadays, and all of them - I've found - can be got around. I mean, in the absolute extreme, you go and use this mysterious token card to go get... cash. I hate having to do it, and haven't done it in years (I'm much more likely to just go elsewhere), but it's always possible.

    Plus, if I go abroad, I don't even need to know what the local currency is. Who cares? Just use the same card in the same way in the same kinds of places.

    I don't understand people who use or carry cash, not because "they might get mugged" (your most valuable asset in a robbery is not your cash unless you're carrying hundreds and hundreds - it's your phone, your designer sunglasses, your car keys, your ID, etc.) but because it's just not necessary.

    About the only argument "for" cash is the anonymity, but that's destroyed by all the other things for any normal person: cameras about shop counters, ATM withdrawal records, etc. It's not something I particularly care about either. All the dodgiest fuckers I know, the ones not paying tax, screwing the benefits system, and selling off nicked items are the ones that deal in cash. I'm not saying cash can only be used that way, but it's a way that cash can be abused that a card makes much harder.

    And I think I'd rather make people doing that have their lives made harder.

    Cash has almost no advantages for the average person. And tons of disadvantages compared to using a card. And if I lose my card, I get a new one just the same. If I lose my cash... well, that's gone forever.

  • by Jim Sadler ( 3430529 ) on Friday July 14, 2017 @02:20PM (#54810353)
    The older or easier to rob you get the more likely it will occur. I have stopped a strong armed robber personally and held him for the cops. he snatched a woman's purse and tried to run for it. People on the wrong side of the law look for people that pay with cash. That does not mean that they will jump you right away. In some cases the study when you go to the bank or super market or mall and jump you on the way in, before you spend your money. They can also set you up by having a young girl come to you supposedly needing help and when it gets to the point that she can steer you to a certain location you will be robbed and maybe killed. We had a local wave of people hitting the rear of cars and then getting out of their cars acting like they want to give you information for insurance etc.. You end up without your car or wallet etc.. Plastic offers a certain degree of protection and outfits like PayPal can also save your bacon. i use auto pay from my bank account as well as auto deposit. That means I have a solid record of my transactions and only visit the bank about once a year. Not only does that lower my exposure to crime it saves stamps envelopes, the risks involved in driving to pay bills and a bunch of things rarely considered. For example if you lease a car imagine the miles you can save by paying all bills electronically and having direct deposits to your bank accounts.

Civilization, as we know it, will end sometime this evening. See SYSNOTE tomorrow for more information.