Most of you may not realize it, but you are actually carrying a number of things in your wallet or purse that you shouldn’t. You may think that carrying your debit card with you all the time seems convenient, but it can actually lead you to become a potential victim of identity theft and fraud.
According to a study conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research, millions of identity theft and fraud victims suffered a total loss of $16.8 billion in the year 2017 alone. You can just imagine the things that those people could’ve bought or done with the money if they were able to avoid falling victim to those thieves. However, it doesn’t stop there. Falling victim to identity theft and fraud can also leave you with having a bad credit score, or worse it can lead to bankruptcy.
Luckily, you can avoid all of those things from happening if you know what not to keep in your wallet or purse. So, go ahead, look inside and see if you have the following items inside.
1. Social Security Card
According to Eva Velasquez, who is the CEO and president of the non-profit organization Identity Theft Resource Center (or ITRC for short), a person’s social security number is the vital key that a thief would need in order to accomplish identity theft and fraud.
Aside from your social security card, anything that has your social security number should also be kept out of your wallet or purse. By having access to your social security number, a thief could easily take out a loan or even open credit card accounts in your name. So, unless you really need it, it’s best to leave it at home.
2. Other Identifying Documents
Carrying other identifying documents with you all the time can also prove to be a hassle. Not only will you have a hard time getting a replacement, but they are also a cause of numerous identity theft cases.
Unless you need them or when you’re traveling, leave your passport or birth certificate at home. If you really need to bring something for identification, you can bring your driver’s license or national ID with you.
3. Debit Cards
It may seem convenient to use a debit card when you’re shopping, but you should also realize that “If it’s convenient for you, it’s also convenient for a thief.” Debit cards actually pose a higher risk than credit cards because they don’t have the same level of protection.
Instead of using your debit card, you can make use of your credit card when making cashless purchases. Alternatively, you can also take out cash by using an ATM-only card.
4. Used Checks or Checkbooks
If you’re not going to write a check, it’s probably for the best if you leave your checkbook at home. If a thief happens to get access to them, they can make use of the information on your checkbook to perform fraudulent activities.
You should also leave out all your used checks since they also have the same information that a thief can use.
5. Old Receipts
You’re probably wondering why this item is included in the list, but old receipts can actually help a thief get away with using your debit and/or credit cards. They can give a thief an idea of who you are as a consumer, basically where you shop and what you buy.
You should be able to see now why you should regularly clean your wallet or purse and throw out old receipts.
6. Gift Checks or Gift Cards
You’re probably carrying them out of habit, but it’s time to take them out of your wallet or purse. As an alternative, you can consider using an app where you can keep a digital copy of your gift card for future use.
7. Extra Cash
It may seem handy to have extra cash with you at all times, but it’s actually doing you more harm than good. Picture this: you’re buying something at the grocery store and you pull out one 100-dollar bill from your wallet that contains a lot of extra cash. It’s like you’re asking to be robbed.
Taking all these items out of your wallet or purse may not completely guarantee that you won’t fall victim to identity theft or fraud, but it puts you in a much better spot than most people. Besides, carrying a lighter load will be better for your body and, without a doubt, more convenient.