5 Things to Never Keep in Your Wallet
Many of us carry around wallets chock-full of credit cards, identification and paperwork, thinking it’s a convenient place to keep important documents organized. Unfortunately, it’s a really bad idea. A wallet overflowing with your personal information is an identity thief’s dream. To reduce the risk of identity theft and credit card fraud it’s best to streamline the contents of your wallet to the basic essentials. Here’s a rundown of five things to never keep in your wallet.
Social Security Card — This is the one thing an identity thief would love more than anything go get their hands on. Your full name and Social Security number are all someone needs to start wreaking havoc on your credit – and your life. The only time you should have your Social Security card with you is when you’re completing paperwork for a new job or getting a driver’s license in a new state. The rest of the time, leave it locked in a safe, lockbox or safe-deposit box.
Multiple Credit Cards – You don’t need to carry all your credit cards with you every day. The more cards you carry, the more calls you’ll have to make to have them canceled if your wallet is lost or stolen. Simply carry one all-purpose credit card and leave the rest of your cards at home. Make a photocopy of the front and back of the card you carry regularly so you have all the information in case you need to call and cancel it.
Spare House Key – Keeping a spare house key in your wallet is recipe for disaster. If someone gets their hands on your wallet that contains the key, all they have to do is follow the address on your driver’s license to let themselves in and clean you out. At the very least, losing your key-containing wallet would require calling a locksmith to change the locks and make new keys — always an expensive undertaking.
Password Cheat Sheet – Keeping passwords straight for everywhere you go online is definitely challenging (you do have multiple passwords, right?). And it may seem like your wallet is an obvious place to keep a list of those passwords for quick and easy access. The thing is, anyone who steals your wallet thinks so, too. Having your list of passwords fall into the wrong hands could be almost as damaging as having your Social Security number stolen. You’re better off keeping the list locked up safely at home, or using a mobile password tracker app to help you remember them.
Checks – Whether blank checks for your own account, a prewritten check you’re using to make a payment or a check someone has given you, don’t carry them around with you. Blank checks are an obvious risk, but checks that are filled out and signed are just as bad. In the wrong hands, they have everything someone needs – account number, routing number and signature – to clean out a bank account. Only put a check in in your wallet when you know you’ll be using it or depositing it the same day.