One of the most frightening things that can happen is to find your wallet has been stolen. For many people, this notion is unthinkable because the items typically carried in a wallet are valuable. In today’s digital inspired world most everything relating to identity or finances are stored on various cards and kept in the wallet.
This makes the items carried in today’s wallets a very valuable commodity. Years ago it used to be people had to worry only about their money being taken if a wallet was stolen, and at the time most thieves were primarily interested in stealing cash. This scenario is no longer the case.
Today’s more sophisticated and savvy thieves are aware of the value of the cards, documents and other necessities people carry in their wallets. Many thieves will go to extravagant lengths in order to get the information contained in wallets.
Due to this, if your wallet is stolen, there is a lot more than cash to worry about. In fact, while cash is valuable and it is a disappointment if it has been taken, at least the damage stops at the limited amount of cash carried. Realistically it is the other missing valuables which should be more of a concern because the damage done can be significant, far-reaching and can ruin a person both personally and financially.
Here are some valuable items in your wallet that thieves would love to get their hands on:
• Credit Cards
Credit cards are the gateway for thieves to buy to their heart’s content. With the high credit lines many creditors are offering nowadays, for thieves to get their hands on even a handful of cards, they can do significant levels of damage.
The ease of using credit cards has also become problematic for people whose credit cards are lost or stolen. Since purchases can easily be made online and most stores only require a swipe with no signature check or ID verification, thieves can often make a lot of charges within the first several hours of the card being stolen.
• I.D. Cards
Identity theft is an attractive and lucrative endeavor for thieves, and the cards carried in your wallet are the gateway to assuming your identity. Many ID cards list valuable information for thieves such as a social security number, address or other sensitive information that they can use to either gain more personal information, steal an identity or access bank accounts.
Using cards such as a driver’s license, Military I.D., Employee I.D., or Student I.D., new credit can be established, attempted access to accounts, attempt to get a replacement social security card, or a host of other illicit activities.
Once an identity thief gets the information they need, they can begin committing fraudulent activities and crimes and disassociate themselves with the activity.
• Social Security Card
Social security cards should never be carried in wallets because of the high risks associated with the number falling into the wrong hands. However, some people do carry their social security cards with them.
This is rarely, if ever, a good idea because if a thief nabs that number, they can do a lot of damage to you.
• Health Insurance Card
Private insurance, military health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or any other issued card to be used for obtaining access to health care often contain a lot of information.
While the industry, both public and private, has moved away from using social security numbers as health insurance IDs and been navigating to randomly assigned account numbers, there are still some cards that contain a lot of personal information which thieves will find appealing.
• ATM Card
While the card itself is perhaps useless without the pin to grab cash, if enough other information is in your wallet, a thief now knows which bank you use and has your account number and may find savvy ways to change a PIN. Armed with other personal details, a lot of financial damage can be done.
Other items of value to consider are car registration cards, bank statements, utility bill stubs or other receipts that may be stuck into a wallet. Basically anything that lists personal information can be a hazard to owners and valuable to thieves.
Many of us take for granted the value on these everyday items because they are used as second nature and often not given a thought. Best practices are to safeguard these items, shred unnecessary documents that are no longer needed and to be aware of the items in your wallet so in the event it is stolen, you can quickly take steps to minimize the potential damage done.