Is Your Wallet a Goldmine for Identity Thieves?
Protecting your identity is a process… one that you have to commit to every day! If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider starting small and with something that is already part of your daily routine, either in your pocket or purse. Yes, I’m talking about your wallet.
If your wallet were stolen at this very moment, how many forms of identity and payment would a thief have? Chances are, if you aren’t making a conscious effort to safeguard your identity, your wallet may contain personally identifiable information that thieves could easily use to steal your identity. Here are some tips to help you evaluate and safeguard your wallet:
- Photo ID – Be aware of what forms of ID you carry so that in the event of theft, you would know who to contact to report the theft. Driver’s license can be sold to others who may look like you.
- Credit Cards – Have you signed the back of the card, or does it say “See Photo ID”? And how many cards do you carry? Debit card theft will immediately impact your checking account, whereas fraudulent charges on a credit card won’t impact your ability to pay bills. Also, what type of cards do you carry? If it’s an RFID credit card, you should have an RFID-blocking wallet so that electronic pickpocketers cannot steal your credit card information. Chip and PIN credit cards can make it more difficult for thieves to use the card in person, but this type of card is as vulnerable as any other credit card when it comes to Internet purchases and stores where chip card readers are not present.
- Checks – If you carry your checkbook or a few blank checks in your wallet, be sure that you have Securiguard checks to reduce the risk of check washing and/or duplication and that you have check fraud protection, such as that offered by EZShield.
- Numbers – Unless it is absolutely necessary (e.g. applying for a passport) do NOT carry your Social Security card, or anything with your social, in your wallet. Also, do not keep any record of your PIN or other account numbers in your wallet.
The bottom line is to only carry information with you that you absolutely need. That way, if your wallet is lost or stolen, your chances of identity theft are minimized. Also, always carry your wallet on you and never leave it unattended or easily accessible to others.