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Wallet / purse advice

By Dave Webb | 13 Jan 2022

Advice on your security

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What should and shouldn’t you carry in your wallet/purse:

 

If your wallet/purse gets stolen, whether it's an inconvenience or a disaster will depend on what you've got in it. You get up from a table in a crowded restaurant and realise your wallet has gone – ‘someone’s stolen your wallet’. You know you’ve lost your cash. Are they already using your credit cards. Have they figured out your PIN number yet. Hopefully this will never happen to you, but unfortunately it happens often so be prepared - clean out (‘declutter’) your wallet so you only carry the essentials.  If you know what to keep, and what not to keep, in your pocket, wallet, or purse, you’ll radically reduce the financial damage and odds of identity theft if you do ever fall victim to wallet/purse theft.

 

What to carry in your wallet/purse:

 

Debit card:  to avoid the temptation of credit cards and the inconvenience of cash - use it for most purchases

Credit card:  good to have for emergencies and back up to your debit card

Cash:  not everywhere takes Debit/credit cards so keep a small amount of cash in your wallet for emergencies or purchases – assess amount you carry based on your activity that day. ATMs are generally never far away

Emergency contact info: keep a card in your wallet with your phone number (so if someone finds your lost wallet, they can call you and return it). Also, include contact information for friends/relatives who can help in an emergency. If you have severe allergies or medical conditions that medical personnel should know about include on the card as well – keep information to a minimum

Identification: there are a variety of reasons where you need official identification so it makes sense to keep it in your wallet at all times – most people choose to carry their driving licence. However, remember it has additional information on it (photo and current address) that could be utilised by criminals – consider carrying separate to your wallet

 

What not to carry in your wallet/purse:

 

Extra debit/credit cards (‘just in case’): it will also compound the hassle should your wallet get stolen. Play it safe and remove the temptation – keep the extra cards safe at home

Birth certificate: easy way for identity thieves to impersonate you - keep it at home in a safe/secure location

PIN numbers/Passwords: never write them down and carry in with your cards - If you have to write these numbers down keep at home in a safe/secure location

Spare keys:  no one wants to be locked out of their car/house – so, keeping spare keys in your wallet seems like a good idea until your wallet is stolen. Now the thief has your money, your address, access to your house, and a convenient way to get there

Blank Cheques: less likely now adays as cheques used less and less - carry a debit card, not cheques

Gift cards:  Obviously, if you’re going to use it, carry it. But if you’re not, that’s the first thing a thief will use – they are basically cash on a card

Receipts:  In addition to being bulky and taking up space, receipts could theoretically help a thief put your credit card or account information together

Anything that provides personal information that could be utilised by a criminal

 

In addition:

 

Keep copies of what’s in your wallet:  If you’ve got access to a photocopier, take a minute and copy everything you’ve got in your wallet, front and back. Keep it at home in a safe place and should your wallet get stolen, you’ll know exactly what you’ve lost and who to call to replace it

Choose a low profile small/minimalistic wallet/purse that avoids attention and can easily kept secure in your pocket or handbag

Business cards: suggest these are carried only when needed (networking/events) and carried separate to your wallet/purse. When other people's business cards are collected transfer the information to your contact list and avoid carrying them in your wallet/purse

Never leave your wallet/purse unattended. Don’t keep your wallet in the back pocket of your trousers – front or inside pockets are best

Membership cards:  only carry when needed and you intend to use

 

In summary - why declutter your wallet/purse? 

 

Unfortunately, stolen or lost wallets/purses are a potential goldmine for fraudsters. Decluttering your wallet and moving towards a minimalist wallet has many benefits - reducing potential security risks, making sure that your spending is more strategic and organised, and facilitates using a nice slim wallet that doesn’t create unnecessary bulk in your pocket. Remember - fraudsters piece together information about their victims like a jigsaw. They may use it to access accounts directly or commit identity fraud by applying for loans and other forms of credit in someone else's name. Personal details such as names, addresses, ages, mobile phone numbers and bank account details give criminals important information

 

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