Your bulging wallet is doing more than just burning a hole in your pocket. It also acts as the key for any thief wishing to take over your identity. This is especially noteworthy, since some reports suggest that 1,000 wallets and purses are stolen every two minutes in the United States.
MARTINSVILLE, N.J., June 27, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Your bulging wallet is doing more than just burning a hole in your pocket. It also acts as the key for any thief wishing to take over your identity. This is especially noteworthy, since some reports suggest that 1,000 wallets and purses are stolen every two minutes in the United States.
According to Ken Schapiro of Condor Capital Management, you should only keep what is absolutely necessary for the day in your wallet. Before you leave your house, Schapiro suggests that you purge the following items from your wallet.
The most important thing to avoid having in your wallet is any document that contains your personal information – specifically, your Social Security number. When put in the wrong hands, your Social Security card can be used to open up new credit cards, create new driver’s licenses, take out loans, and so on. Birth certificates or passports are even worse than your Social Security card when it comes to things that should never be in your wallet. These documents can be used to get a replacement Social Security card and other forms of identification, leading to identity theft. Another piece of personal information that should never be kept in your wallet is your health insurance card. You should only carry your health insurance card if you have a medical appointment that day. This is especially important for people with Medicare because their health insurance cards contain their Social Security number. Besides the thousands of dollars in medical costs that a thief can rack up by using your insurance card, a thief can also change your medical information to match theirs, and thus, put your life and health at risk.
Password Cheat Sheets
It is always wise to have different passwords for each website that requires you to log in, but keeping track of all of those passwords can be a daunting task. Although it is handy to have a password cheat sheet, it is not necessary to keep this cheat sheet in your wallet. Keep the cheat sheet in a safe spot at home, and if you need to look up a password while you are out, use an app such as SplashID or Password Safe Pro, on your password-protected phone.
Besides the amount of space that multiple receipts take up in your wallet, these little pieces of paper can cause some significant damage to your financial situation if found in the wrong hands. A thief can use the few digits of your credit card number that are allowed to be on the receipts and search for the rest of the numbers with a little help from the merchant information to purchase items on your credit card. For the receipts that you absolutely have to save, download an app like Lemon or Shoeboxed to keep your receipts and credit card information safe.
Too Much of One Thing
Stashing every single credit card, gift card, or hundreds of dollars in cash in your wallet every day can lead to a major headache in the event that your wallet gets stolen. Schapiro recommends keeping fewer than three credit cards in your wallet at any given time. The same thing goes for gift cards; only keep gift cards in your wallet if you know that you are definitely going to that store today. As for cash, it is always good to have some on you, but try to keep it at an amount that you will be okay without in the event that your wallet gets stolen.
Checkbooks contain routing numbers, account numbers, and act as an easy way for thieves to withdraw money from your checking account, which is why they should never be in your wallet. Only carry the exact amount of checks that you need for that day, and leave your checkbook at home.
All-in-all, by cluttering our wallets with all of these unnecessary and potentially life-damaging items, we are inviting thieves to steal our identities. Schapiro also notes that you should make photocopies of all the items normally in your wallet, and save these photocopies in a safe location at home or in a safe-deposit box. These photocopies can be very helpful if you need to remember what was in your wallet or need to quickly access the cancellation numbers for your credit and debit cards.
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Condor Capital Management
Founded in 1988, Condor Capital Management is an employee-owned, SEC-registered investment advisor based in Martinsville, N.J. employing 15 professional and support staff. Since Condor is a fee-only investment management firm, its fees are based on portfolio size, not sales commissions or number of trades. For more information on Condor Capital Management, please visit www.condorcapital.com or call 732-356-7323.