The Worst Things to Keep In Your Wallet

Article Posted on 11/21/2019

Social Security Card. Losing your Social Security card is a sure ticket to identity theft. Once taken, the thieves could use that number to get loans in your name or obtain credit cards. This reason alone is why experts say never to carry your Social Security card with you. Not even on a piece of paper with it listed. Make sure nothing else in your wallet has your Social Security number on it. States can no longer display your SSN on your driver’s license, state ID cards or motor vehicle registrations. If you do have any old photo IDs with your Social Security number on it, request a new ID right away.

Password Cheat Sheet. We all have a password cheat sheet somewhere. The average American uses seven different passwords to access credit cards and ATMs. Experts say to have unique combinations of numbers, letters and symbols that you can change regularly. In 2017 73% of people used a cheat sheet. One of the worst places to store this is your wallet. A better option to store your passwords would be in a locked box at your house. You can consider a digital password manager. One is LastPass. The basic service is free, or you can upgrade to the premium version for $2 per month.

Our firm has implemented a two-factor authentication. In a two-factor system you enter your username and password as usual, but the account will then confirm your identity by asking you to enter a code that has been sent to your smartphone or email address.

Spare Keys. The best place to place your spare key is with a relative or friend. If you’re ever locked out yes, it will take longer to retrieve your backup key, but that’s better than the alternative. A lost wallet with your spare house key along with your ID that shows your personal home address is an invitation for real world thieves to break into your home. Experts say not you put yourself and family at risk.

Checks. Blank checks are risky. In the wrong hands, a blank check could be used to quickly drain money from your bank account. Even if the check isn’t used, it has your bank account and routing numbers on it, a target for electronic withdraws from your account. Also, your home address and some have their social security number (a big no-no) on their checks. Carrying a blank check in your wallet as a ‘just in case’ is not a good idea. Only carry the checks that you are going to use right away and leave the check book at home.

Multiple Credit Cards Traveling with fewer cards is better than all of them. If your wallet is ever stolen, you won’t have that many credit cards that you’ll have to cancel. Carry one rewards card for everyday purchases as well as a backup card for unplanned purchases or emergencies. Photocopy the front and back of everything in your wallet or write the cancellation phone numbers or websites for your credit cards on a piece of paper at home. The lost or stolen number is typically on the back of your card but if your credit card is stolen it won’t do you any good.

A Stack of Receipts Businesses have not been allowed to print on paper receipts more than the last five digits of your credit card number for years. ID theft experts say skilled thieves could use those last five digits and merchant information on receipts to phish for the remaining numbers on your credit card. Remove the receipts from your wallet daily and shred them. If you need to retain receipts for possible returns or warranties, ask the merchant to skip the paper and send you a digital receipt instead. Most retailers will. If you have printed receipts you need to keep, consider making it digital and storing it securely in the cloud. Apps that do this include Shoeboxed, which lets you create and categorize digital copies of your receipts and business cards.

Medicare Card Many retirees still have Medicare cards with their Social Security numbers printed on them. That’s changing. A new law requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to remove SSNs from Medicare cards. However, the change is being implemented gradually. The rollout of new Medicare cards with SSN's was to be completed in April 2019. If you still have an old Medicare card with your Social Security number on it, remove it from your wallet and replace it with a photocopy of the card. Black out your Social Security number on that photocopy. If an appointment requires your full Social Security number, you can then provide it as needed.

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