Pickpockets, strap-slashers and food court loiterers know that once they get their hands on your wallet they have everything they need to assume your identity.
Here’s what you do to thwart the sleazebags:
• Stay alert, especially during the holiday season when there are so many crowds and distractions.
• Never leave your purse or wallet in the car where it’s visible to passersby.
• Plan ahead. Put your cash, check or credit card along with your driver’s license into a fanny pack or a small bag you can wear across your chest. Leave your purse at home, or lock it in the trunk before leaving home. DON’T put it in the trunk in a parking lot where everyone can see.
• Use a money clip for cash, credit card and ID instead of a wallet so you can more easily carry it in your front pocket. If you don’t think a pickpocket to reach into your pants pocket without your knowing, you’re wrong; it happens everyday, and crowds make it easier.
• Clean out your wallet, and carry only the essentials: Your driver’s license, one credit card OR one check OR cash. NEVER carry your Social Security card with you. Leave your auto insurance card in the glove compartment. Everything else belongs at home in a lockbox.
• Make sure you know what’s in your wallet in case it’s stolen. The sooner you can contact the credit card issuers the better; time is on the side of the identity thief.
I already warned you that I’d be plugging some LifeLock products, and WalletLock is my personal favorite—because I’ve left my wallet in a phone booth, a fitting room and the Rome Airport.
With WalletLock you make only one call to LifeLock if your wallet is swiped or lost and they’ll take care of canceling and replacing just about anything except your photos.
Covered documents include your driver’s license, health and auto insurance cards, Social Security card (what was that doing in there, anyhow?), professional association cards, credit cards, bank cards, check book or checks—even your passport, visa or immigration documents. They’re open 24/7 so they’ll always be able to help you, even if you’re out of the country and several time zones away.