Are You Increasing Your Own Risk of Identity Theft?

Is Your Wallet an Identity Theft Treasure Chest?

Let me ask you a question… What’s in your wallet? And no, I’m not trying to sell you a credit card. Too many consumers make the mistake of carrying unnecessary personal documents with them on a regular basis. And this, my friend, can actually lead to identity theft.

Take Only What You Need

What types of identification do you need to carry around with you on a daily basis? This varies depending on what you plan on doing. The overall concept is that you should only carry the necessary credit cards and identification that you need on any given day.

Why should you limit the indentifying information held in your wallet? If you lose your wallet or purse, you won’t have too much information out there. Remember, identity theft is profitable and thieves know who will pay money for your personal information. They’re not just after the cash in your wallet anymore.

Sometimes More Is Needed

If you plan to fly on a commercial airplane in the United States, you need to have your airline ticket and an approved photo identification. An approved photo identification is a valid passport, military id, or state issued driver’s license. However, you don’t need to carry all three of them.

Make sure you have your driver’s license if plan to drive a vehicle any time on this trip. Another key is that you store these necessary documents safely so that an identity theft criminal doesn’t steal them when you are fumbling with your luggage.

If you plan to go to your bank and make a cash withdrawal, a driver’s license and your account number is sufficient. Obviously, you don’t need the driver’s license if you plan to make an ATM withdrawal, but you do obviously need you driver’s license if you plan on driving!

If you are starting a new job, you typically need to have an approved photo id and a social security card. If you don’t have a social security card, you typically could substitute a voter id card and an original copy of your birth certificate.

Each state has different laws, so it would be a good idea to contact your HR department prior to your first day. Again, only carry the required information that you need and nothing else. You shouldn’t contribute to your own risk of identity theft by carrying around unneeded documents.

As far as credit cards, you typically only need to carry one credit card for emergency purposes. It is best to carry a Visa or MasterCard since they are most widely accepted. Make sure that you have a few hundred dollars of available credit on this card.

Any credit cards that you have cancelled should be shredded and discarded. If you have credit card accounts that are still open, but you never use, you should keep those at home to reduce your risk of identity theft.

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