Your wallet likely has a few cash bills, credit and debit cards, and your driver’s license or ID. There might even be a few personal items in it, like photos of your loved ones or old concert tickets. We get it – every wallet has its own personality. However, by keeping sensitive items in your wallet, you should know that you are essentially exposing yourself to a higher risk of identity theft. Protect yourself by removing such sensitive items ASAP, like the examples listed below.
Social Security Card
Never keep your Social Security card or number inside your wallet. These cards carry one of the most valuable pieces of information about you. Should your social security number get into the hands of the wrong person, someone else can easily file taxes on your behalf, open a line of credit in your name, receive medical attention, or even commit crimes using your information. Play it safe and keep this card at home.
Even if you aren't carrying your Social Security card itself, your SSN might show up on an even more common culprit: a Medicare card. To avoid giving out one of the most serious numbers a hacker can steal, only carry your card when you have a medical appointment. Unless you’re on the way to or from a medical appointment, your Medicare card should remain safely stored in your apartment.
A List of Passwords
You’d be surprised how many people take note of their passwords and keep it in their wallets. However, keeping a running list of your passwords, PINs, and alarm codes in your wallet is just asking for trouble. Instead, try using a password manager on your phone or computer. These managers store all your passwords for you, so you can make a different obscure one for every account without needing to memorize them all.
If you still write a lot of checks, you might think little of keeping a few spare blank checks or an entire checkbook in your purse or wallet. But, this is a bad idea. Criminals can easily counterfeit the checks in order to tap into your checking account. They can also use the bank account and routing numbers on the check to withdraw money electronically. Prevent this by only carrying one or two checks when you know you will need them.
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