By Glen McKenzie
Your wallet can easily become cluttered with loyalty cards, coupons, cash, checks, store credit cards and a host of identification cards. Not only is an over-stuffed wallet a hassle to carry, it may make identity theft easier.
Give your purse or wallet a good once over. Look for things you don’t regularly need, and take them out.
Some things should never be in your purse or wallet. If you see these items as you’re trimming down your daily carry, take them out immediately.
- Your Social Security card
It’s easy enough to stuff the card into your wallet when you need it for identification and then forget about it.
That could be a big mistake. Thieves can use your original Social Security card to apply for all kinds of unsecured debt in your name. Canceling your Social Security number and getting a new one is a complicated, time-consuming process, and you may be liable for fraud as you do so.
Keep yourself safe, and get the card out of your wallet. Put it in a secure location in your home, like a safety lock box.
This is by far the easiest way to accumulate paper in your wallet. You never know what might be needed later and you stick them all into your wallet. Before you know it, you’ve got a novel-sized stack of transactions.
This could be serious trouble if your purse or wallet is ever stolen or lost. Thieves can use the last four digits of your credit card number on a receipt to build a profile of your purchases, and can fish for more information with a merchant who has the card on file, like a cable company or an online retailer.
Think about going paperless. Turn your phone into a digital file box. Information can be encrypted to keep it out of the hands of malicious people but still accessible to you if you need to check a purchase.
- Tons of credit cards
Every store offers its own card and incentives. Those cards can really add up. Tack on an extra couple of cards for gas purchases, everyday expenses and work-related stuff, and you could easily end up with a wallet or purse full of plastic.
If your wallet or purse is stolen, each one of those cards has to be canceled individually. Forgetting even one can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Thin your collection down to the one or two you use regularly. Look for those that can be widely used, provide the lowest fees and best acceptance rates.
Once you’re down to your top cards, make a list of their numbers and the steps you’d need to take to cancel them if necessary.
Don’t forget that it is also important to keep your address and all phone numbers updated with your financial institution and credit card carriers. This enables them to quickly notify you if fraud is suspected or to send you alerts/notifications if something looks suspicious on your account or credit card.
Your Turn: It’s time to think about what’s tucked into your purse or wallet. What items make your “essential carry” list, and what can you safely leave behind?
DATCU is your local, member-owned credit union. It would be our pleasure to help you with any financial need you might have. Call us at 940-387-8585, go to our website at datcu.org, or stop by any of our eleven (11) convenient branch locations if you are considering a new financial partner in your life. It would be our pleasure to serve you!
Glen McKenzie, President/CEO of DATCU Credit Union, may be reached at 866-387-8585.