Tuesday, August 16, 2011

10 Things You Shouldn't Keep in Your Wallet or Purse

What's in your wallet?
-Capital One slogan

Fox Business News lists 10 Things You Shouldn't Keep in Your Wallet or Purse.

1. Social Security Card
With your Social Security card a thief could open a credit card, apply for a loan, or even buy a car with the information. Memorize the nine digits instead.

2. Your Passport
A passport is a must if you're traveling internationally, but leave it in the hotel safe. When abroad, carry a photocopy of your passport for identification. "If you lose your passport or get mugged in a foreign country, it's such a horrible hassle. You have to go to the embassy, and it's a vacation nightmare."

If you're traveling in the U.S., carry only your driver's license.

3. Passwords/Pass codes
"If you store any type of ATM password or even a code for your home alarm in your wallet, you have basically gifted a thief with access to your life." If you must write them down, enter them in backwards or add one to each number so that 1234 becomes 2345. Use some kind of a code to alter the number that you will remember.

4. A Non-Password Protected Phone
Some smart phone applications allow instant access to bank accounts, PayPal accounts, medical records, and more. Even email on an unprotected phone could give a thief way too much information. Be sure to password protect your smart phone AND don't carry that password on you.

5. Your Checkbook
A checkbook has your bank account number and routing number on it, and your address.

6. Too Many Credit Cards
If you carry every credit card you own and your wallet is lost or stolen then you'll have to cancel every one. If you leave at least one card at home (in a safe place) you'll have a card you can use when the others are gone. Also make sure you keep photocopies of the front and back of each card at home; the back of most cards carries the 800 number for reporting a lost or stolen card.

7. Too Much Cash
Carry only as much cash as you're willing or able to afford to lose.

8. Gift Cards/Certificates
Gift cards and gift certificates are just like cash -- they don't require ID for use.

9. USB Devices
USB devices can be bad news in the hands of thieves if they contain confidential files.

10. Receipts
Some receipts have your credit card information on them, as well as your signature, which thieves could do a lot of damage with.

Bonus Item:
"It may sound silly, but if you're changing earrings ..., it's very possible you may forget and toss these things in the zipper compartment of your wallet. It would be horrible to get your wallet stolen any day, but if you're also losing your grandmother's earrings ..., it's even worse!"

Bottom Line

What's in your wallet? Does it contain anything besides a drivers license that a thief can use to steal your identity?

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