One of the worst feelings is reaching for your wallet and finding it’s not there. Panic ensues: Did you leave it at home? Drop it? Were you the victim of a pickpocket? Following our advice won’t salve that panic, but it may lessen it.
If your wallet is stuffed fat with personal and financial information, know that much of that information can be exploited by identity thieves. All the bad guys need to get started is your name and Social Security number. That alone can lead to bogus loan applications and the opening of fraudulent accounts. It can get worse if they can steal from your wallet your government-issued photo ID, including your passport or passport card, and doctor the image.
We reached out to consumer protection experts to identify the things you should immediately purge from your wallet. Oh, and one quick tip before we dive in: Photocopy the front and back of whatever remains in your wallet. That way, if your wallet is lost or stolen, you can at least quickly and easily file reports with the appropriate government agencies and financial institutions.