We’ve gotten to a point where we accept identity theft as a part of our lives.
Between data breaches, skimming, phishing malware and more, we simply try to do our best. To be vigilant in protecting our information, monitor our accounts for suspicious activity and hope we will catch fraudulent charges early.
According to Javelin Strategy, in 2017, identity theft victims in the U.S. totaled 16.7 million, one million of whom were children.
As for the big business of data theft? Well, that cost nearly $17 billion. Debt collection, identity theft and imposter scams were the top three categories of the 2.7 million reported.
As you arm yourself in the digital space, there are still plenty of low-tech ways someone could do some serious damage to your financial life. And your wallet tops the list.
Yes, your wallet. When was the last time you really took a look at what is in there?
Here are few items experts say you should remove immediately from your wallet.
Checks: It doesn’t matter if it’s an old cashed one or blank. Think about it if your wallet gets stolen: A thief will have your name, address, bank name, routing number, account number and possible signature. That’s a ton of personal information to work from.
Every credit card you own: You only need one or two. The more cards you carry, the more to keep track of to cancel if your wallet is stolen.
Passwords: Seems obvious but some people actually still keep PIN codes, passwords or answers to password hints on paper in their wallet. You might as well put it on a billboard.
Social Security card: Always leave your Social Security card at home. Talk about making yourself an easy mark.