Never put these Docs in your Wallet

Yes, believe it or not, you CAN get by in life with a wallet that just has a little cash, a store card or two, one to two credit cards and your ID.  Unless you absolutely need your insurance card or Social Security card, leave those items at home.

1DFor years now, wallets have been on the market that you can stuff everything into, save for the kitchen sink. This doesn’t mean you must carry a ridiculous bulging wallet everywhere you go.

Now you may not mind having to dig through your wallet for five minutes to retrieve things because there’s so much stuff in there, but do you know who actually would enjoy this?

A crook who specializes in identity theft. With just your Social Security card (come on already, just memorize the number), a crook could open up credit lines in your name and make your life a nightmare.

Now you may think it doesn’t matter because your wallet will never be lost or stolen. Everyone must lose their wallet at some point in their lives? But what if you’re in an accident? What if you’re jumped on the street? What if someone brazenly approaches you, grabs the wallet out of your hands and runs?

If my wallet is lost or stolen I won’t care because there’s nothing in my wallet that the thief could easily use to steal my identity, nor is there anything I couldn’t easily name or easily replace.

Keep the following items out of your wallet:

  • Anything with your Social Security number; again, just memorize it already.
  • Home address
  • Keys
  • PINs and passwords (if you need an assortment of these to function while away from home, use an encrypted app—assuming you have a smartphone).
  • Checks
  • Credit cards you won’t be using on any given day you’re out in the community (though one emergency credit card at all times is a smart move).
  • Birth certificate
  • Credit card receipts
  • Medical cards unless you are going to the doctor
  • Store cards unless you are going to that store

Make photo copies of all docs in your wallet and upload them to your secure email account. Consider an app like “Key Ring” and enter the cards into your mobile device. Put ALL your loyalty cards there and copies of most cards you might need in a pinch.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to discussing  identity theft prevention.

I Really Want My Phone to Be My Wallet. Don’t You?

Wallets suck. Seriously. Mine hurts my butt when I sit down. I have to remember to take it with me, and then I’m always afraid of losing it. There’s nothing fun about it. And…well…it’s dirty. It really is—money is dirty, and the cards you hand to people with dirty hands that handle dirty cards all day are dirty. Can we please just use our mobiles as wallets?

There are a few technologies that are supposed to eliminate the wallet, but no matter how hard I try, I still need to carry one. More on that in a bit.

What’s in the works:

  • Isis is a mobile payment network comprised of the major mobile networks. It’s supposed to launch nationwide and there have been a bunch of pilot tests, but no official launch just yet.
  • Square is an app that accepts credit cards and allows you to pay with them in stores that accept Square-facilitated transactions.
  • Apple has the Passbook app, which stores your cards and works with an iPhone. It should have taken off, but it does squat.
  • Google Wallet is an app that has relationships with credit card companies and banks and uses near-field communications. It allows you to make payments, but only if you have an NFC-enabled phone—which is usually an Android—and the point of sale needs to be able to read it.
  • Starbucks is really the only company that has used its mobile app to accept payments, and it’s wildly successful. There’s no reason to even walk into a Starbucks with a wallet again.

So other than moving into Starbucks, I’ve found a temporary compromise.

  • Thinned out my wallet: This means I got a thinner wallet, too. I picked up a three-buck one from one of those sidewalk tables in New York City. For the rest of the world, you can find them all over eBay.
  • Keyring: This is an app available for iPhones and Androids that allows me to easily snap a photo of the front and back of my 50+ loyalty cards and use most of them at a retail counter. (Except Costco, which is stupid. Do you hear me, Costco?)
  • Hotspot Shield VPN: This is a virtual private network application installed on my mobile to protect my wireless traffic. So instead of having to remember my wallet and then putting my wallet into my pocket—which hurts—and worrying about losing it, I just use my mobile to make purchases online and have most everything shipped. Except, of course, at Costco.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247.