Six Things You Should Never Carry in Your Wallet

by Susanna Hamilton, Contributing Editor on July 10, 2013

Things You Should Never Carry in Your Wallet
More Than One Credit Card:

The more credit cards you keep in your wallet, the more phone calls you will have to make and the more paperwork you will have to fill out if you wallet is lost or stolen.  Instead of carrying a selection of cards, keep only one card in your wallet for emergency purchases.  On days when you plan to buy gas, groceries or other items, you can add a rewards card if your designated emergency card is not the one with the best rewards program.

You should also keep a list containing cancellation numbers for all of your credit cards in your desk, filing cabinet or other safe place.  These numbers are usually printed on the backs of your cards. If you lose one of your cards, this simple tip can save you a lot of time and headaches.

Receipts:

While businesses have not been allowed to print full credit card numbers or expiration dates on receipts since 2003, there is still enough information on most credit card receipts to be dangerous in the wrong hands.  Many receipts contain the last five digits of your card number.  An experienced thief can use these numbers to phish for the rest of your account number and hijack your account.

Instead of carrying a sheaf of receipts, make a habit of clearing out your wallet every night.  Shred the receipts you don’t need, and file those you want to keep.

Checks or a Checkbook:

Obviously, leaving blank checks in your purse or wallet is dangerous, but even completed checks can cause trouble in the hands of thieves.  With one of your checks, a thief could use your account and routing numbers to steal funds from your checking account.

To protect your money, avoid carrying checks unless you need them, and do not make a habit of carrying your checkbook.

Anything Containing Your Social Security Number (SSN):

SSNs are extremely valuable to identity thieves for good reason.  Your SSN is all a criminal needs to take out a loan or open a credit account in your name.

To protect yourself, take your Social Security card out of your wallet, and put it in a safe place.  Also, search for any other cards bearing your SSN.  While motor vehicle licenses, registrations and other government identification cards have not been allowed to display SSNs since 2005, older cards may contain this information.  If you have one of these older cards, it is worth it to request a replacement, even if there may be a fee.

If you have a Medicare card, make sure to pull this out of your wallet as it contains your SSN.  Replace your card with a photocopy of both the front and back of the card, and black out the SSN on the copy.  If your healthcare provider needs your number, you can provide it verbally when you go in for an appointment or procedure.

A Spare Set of Keys:

Your wallet almost certainly contains something, such as your driver’s license, with your home address printed on it.  If you keep a house key in your wallet, you are essentially providing a map to your house along with a key to your front door.  If your wallet is stolen or found by an unscrupulous person, he or she could enter your house, rob you and harm you and your family members.

Safeguard your family by giving your spare house keys to a trusted neighbor, friend or family member.  If you find yourself locked out, you can easily retrieve your spare.  It may take a little more time, but your safety and that of your family members is worth the slight inconvenience.

A List of Your Passwords:

If you are like most Americans, you regularly use at least six unique passwords, and should probably use even more for security reasons.  Experts recommend that you use a unique password comprised of letters, numbers and symbols for each password-protected application.  They also recommend changing these passwords regularly, so it is no surprise that security-conscious people have trouble keeping all of their passwords straight.  A master list, kept in a locked filing cabinet, may be a good idea.  However, carrying a list in your wallet is a disaster waiting to happen.

By carrying your passwords in your wallet with your ATM card, credit cards and other personal documents, you are setting yourself up for big problems.  If a thief got your wallet, he or she would have enough information to find and access your secure accounts.  Try your best to memorize your passwords, and if you still need a list for reference, keep it in a locked safe or filing cabinet.

 

Article Courtesy of Credit Card Approval Center

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