Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

walletLots of Americans carry wallets around every day. It’s a great way to keep your cash, cards, and IDs organized. But wallets are also easily lost or stolen, and if that happens to you when you’re carrying around the wrong kinds of information, it could make you an easy target for identity theft. Fortunately, Mellody Hobson and ABC News have some great tips on what to put—and what not to put—in your wallet:

The number one thing you should not carry in your wallet is your social security card. If it gets into the wrong hands, it can be used for everything from buying a car to opening a credit card. You should also never carry your passport in your wallet. Even if you are traveling in a foreign country, leave your passport in your hotel and just carry a photocopy of the picture page. And of course do not keep a list of your pins and passwords in your wallet. That would be a gold mine to a thief. Keep those passwords at home.

The article goes on to say that carrying a small amount of cash and a credit card—just one—is ok. Hobson says that keeping your number of credit cards down can also help stop you from overextending yourself financially. She does have some more wallet-related practices to be wary of, though:

Receipts not only clutter your wallet, but they could contain information about you that identity thieves could use. So you should take any receipts out of your wallet every night.

Don't keep anything in your wallet that has expired. This includes old credit cards or membership cards. Just because they've expired doesn't mean thieves will not try to use them.

Hobson also reminds us to contact the police, credit rating agencies, and your credit card companies if your wallet is ever lost or stolen, and advises we keep our wallets in our front pockets when traveling, to help prevent pick pocketing.

-Patrick Paterson-


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