While no one plans to lose their wallet, you can reduce the trauma of that event. Consumer protection experts recommend not keeping these items in your wallet:
- your Social Security card; also make sure nothing else in your wallet contains your Social Security number.
- a list of passwords; keep the list secured at home, and consider use of a password manager.
- spare keys; a lost wallet with keys and your home address on an ID card is an invitation to burglars.
- blank checks; while few people write checks, blank checks are risky as a thief has your account number and the bank routing numbers and probably your home address.
- your passport or passport card; an identity thief could travel under your name, obtain a copy of your Social Security card, or open a bank account. Whenever traveling on a passport, keep a copy in a safe place.
- extra credit cards; carry only one or two cards to avoid having to cancel many cards if your wallet is lost or stolen.
- other items to keep out of your wallet: birth certificate; receipts that could be used to by skilled identity thieves; an old Medicare card with your Social Security number; and gift cards, which could be used by anyone with access to your wallet.
By following these guidelines, you can avoid identity theft, bogus loan applications in your name, and someone opening fraudulent accounts. Also recommended: photocopy the front and back of the items in your wallet to have a record of what is lost or stolen.
For additional information on what not to keep in your wallet, click here:
- Have students talk to others to determine if they carry any of these items in their wallet.
- Have students create a checklist of action to take if your wallet is lost or stolen.
- What are actions people can take to avoid identity theft?
- Describe how technology and apps are replacing traditional wallets. Discuss how these devices might improve security against identity theft.