Cases of identity theft are on the rise in the United States. According to TransUnion, a leading credit reporting agency, 19 people fall victim to identity thieves every minute. Moreover, claim data from the insurance companyTravelers shows that 40% of identity fraud cases result from a lost wallet or purse.

For the uninitiated, identity theft is the type of crime where someone steals your personal information and uses it to commit fraudulent transactions in your name, like applying for credit cards, opening bogus accounts, and filing tax returns.

The personal information that is used to commit these crimes can be easily found in the items that you normally keep in your wallet. So, to minimize your risk of falling victim to identity theft, you should avoid keeping the following things in your wallet:


1. Multiple Cards

You could be carrying many cards and debit cards that you hardly use. If a thief getstheir hands on these credit cards, they might commit charges that would leave you with untold financial woes.

It’s advisable to have only one debit and credit card on you at any given time. This will also save you from impulse buying, especially if you are a shopaholic.


2. Social Security Card

Your Social Security number is one of the major targets for identitythieves. If these crooks get your number, they can use it to open credit accounts in your name, file tax returns, among other fraudulent transactions. These fraudulent activities can cause financial havoc in your life that would take you years to recover from.

While you can replace a lost SS Card, you’ll have to prove that indeed someone stole your card and used it fraudulently. So, you are better off leaving your Social Security card at home or keeping it somewhere safer.


3. Checks and Deposit Slips

Checks and deposits slips can have loads of information that identity thieves can use to bring you down. These include:

· Your name

· Bank name

· Your address

· Account number

· Routing number

It’s worth noting that filled checks are as dangerous as blank checks when it comes to fraudulent transactions by identity thieves.


4. Spare House Key

Many people keep a spare key in their wallet to avoid the stress that comes with locking oneself out of the house. If you’re one of these people, you should realize that if someone steals your wallet, it will be a double tragedy.

He will not only get your personal information but will also have access to your home. He’ll have no trouble locating your home as your driver’s license has your address.


5. Passport

Your passport is another document that contains some valuable information that identity thieves would target. Unfortunately, many travelers keep their passports in their purse or backpack and are oblivious of the risks.

If you’re overseas, consider keeping your passport in the hotel safe instead of walking around with it in your wallet. If you aren’t traveling, then leave the passport at home.


Conclusion

While there’s no foolproof way to protect yourself 100% from identity theft, you can minimize your exposure significantly by not keeping yourSocial Security card, extra credit cards, passport, spare keys, and checks in your wallet.

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