Like people, wallets are generally healthier if kept lean. Overstuffed wallets are no fun to sit on and clunky to lug around. More importantly, if lost or stolen, you don’t want enough personal information left inside to jeopardize your security.
Wallet, purse or car
Kiplinger recently posted a list of some things that should never be left in a wallet. Any of the items on the list can give thieves just the edge they need to destroy your finances. By the way, the same list applies to things left in purses and cars.
Social Security Card
The number one no-no is your Social Security Card — or any document with your social security number on it. That nine-digit number is the only thing an identity thief needs to open new credit in your name.
That includes your Medicare card, retirees. It also displays your Social Security number. Instead, says Kiplinger, carry a photocopy or scanned printout of both sides of your card, and obliterate the Social Security number with a black felt marker.
Computer passwords/ATM PIN
According to Kiplinger, the average American has seven different passwords for access to various websites. Most people do not have the photographic memory needed to keep all of that straight. Consequently, most of us have those numbers written down someplace. But that very private list should never be on your person, where it can be easily lost, stolen or misplaced. Instead, keep that information at home, preferably under lock and key. The same goes for your ATM PIN.
Some people keep an extra house or car key in their wallet, just in case they lose their key-chain. Bad idea. Should a thief get hold of your wallet and find your address inside, as well as a key to your front door — well, jackpot!
Checks contain routing and account numbers that can be used to electronically transfer money out of your account. Most of us use them so frequently anymore. It makes sense to only take them with you when you know you will need them, and then only the amount you will absolutely need. Leave the book locked up at home.
More than one credit card
It is important to have a credit card with you for unforeseen expenses. According to Kiplinger, those who carry them generally boast higher credit scores than those who do not. However, the more you are packing, the more you will have to cancel if they are stolen or lost. Carry only one — perhaps the one with the most rewards attached to it.
Debit and credit card receipts
Debit and credit card recipients do not contain complete card numbers or expiration dates, but ambitious identity thieves can use the truncated information supplied on them to “phish” for the remaining digits. Receipts should be recorded in your expense register and then shredded, preferably within 24 hours.
Kiplinger also warns against carrying your passport or birth certificate around unless needed. Those are probably no-brainers, and who does that anyway?