Your wallet is a small window look into your entire identity. Think about it. Your driver’s license, credit card, debit card, health insurance card– all those numbers are all stored together. In the event of a lost wallet or stolen wallet, having all of this information in one place greatly increases your risk of identity theft.
Experian’s ProtectMyID (www.protectmyid.com) has 9 great tips for travelers to help keep you a little bit safer. Here’s a quick preview of a few of them, happy to share the others:
1. Keep a record. If your wallet and everything in it were suddenly missing, you´d need to know what you had lost. In a personal notebook you keep in a secure place at home, write down all of the information from the front and back of your credit, debit, driver´s license, medical insurance and other important cards. Be sure to update the list as needed. This will help you make the appropriate calls following a theft.
2. Limit your cards. What you don´t carry in your wallet is just as important as what you do carry. For preemptive protection, only carry what you need on a daily basis. If you have multiple credit cards, only carry the one you use most often. Don´t write PINs or passwords on the back of your credit or debit cards or on pieces of paper you keep in your wallet.
3. Protect your SSN. Your Social Security number shouldn´t be on anything you regularly carry in your wallet. If any of your identification cards from a school, library or gym use your SSN as your member number, ask the organization for a randomly selected number and a new card. Be sure to shred the old one. Carry your actual Social Security card as infrequently as possible. If you need it to confirm you identity, be sure to return it to its safe storage place as soon as you can.