By Emily Inverso
That overstuffed wallet of yours can’t be comfortable to sit on. It’s probably even too clunky to lug around in a purse, too.
And with every new bank slip that bulges from the seams, your personal information is getting less and less safe. With just your name and Social Security number, identity thieves can open new credit accounts and make costly purchases in your name. If they can get their hands on (and doctor) a government-issued photo ID, they can do even more damage, such as opening new bank accounts. These days, con artists are even profiting from tax-return fraud and health-care fraud, all with stolen IDs.
We talked with consumer-protection advocates to identify the eight things you should purge from your wallet immediately to limit your risk in case your wallet is lost or stolen.
And when you’re finished removing your wallet’s biggest information leaks, take a moment to photocopy everything you’ve left inside, front and back. Stash the copies in a secure location at home or in a safe-deposit box. The last thing you want to be wondering as you’re reporting a stolen wallet is, “What exactly did I have in there?”
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