LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Lamkin Wealth Management shares the five things not to keep in your wallet this holiday season.
Holiday shoppers need to be vigilant about what they carry with them. Thieves are focused on unsuspecting people full of good cheer. But financial expert Mark Lamkin from Lamkin Wealth Management says there are five things you should never carry in your wallet.
Your Social Security Card (and anything with the number on it.)
Your nine-digit Social Security number is all a savvy ID thief needs to open new credit card accounts or loans in your name. ID-theft experts say your Social Security card is the absolute worst item to carry around.
Once you've removed your card, look for anything else that may contain your SSN. As of December 2005, states can no longer display your SSN on newly issued driver's licenses, state ID cards and motor-vehicle registrations. If you still have an older photo ID, request a new card prior to the expiration date. There might be an additional fee, but it's worth it to protect your identity.
Retirees, pull out your Medicare card, too, because it has your SSN on it.
Instead: Photocopy your Medicare card (front and back) and carry it with you instead of your real card. Experts are torn when it comes to blacking out a portion of your Social Security number on the copy, so to be safe, black out all nine digits. If an appointment requires the full SSN, you can then provide it as needed.
Password Cheat Sheet
The average American uses at least seven different passwords (and probably should use even more to avoid repeating them on multiple sites/accounts). Ideally, each of those passwords should be a unique combination of letters, numbers, and symbols, and you should change them regularly. Is it any wonder we need help keeping track of them all?
However, carrying your ATM card's PIN number and a collection of passwords (especially those for online access to banking and investment accounts) on a scrap of paper in your wallet is a prescription for financial disaster.
Instead: If you have to keep passwords jotted down somewhere, keep them in a locked box in your house. Or consider an encrypted mobile app, such as SplashID ($9.95; Android, Blackberry, iPad, iPhone), Password Safe Pro (free, Android only) or Pocket (free, Android only).
A lost wallet containing your home address (likely found on your driver's license or other items) and a spare key is an invitation for burglars to do far more harm than just opening a credit card in your name. Don't put your property and family at risk. (And even if your home isn't robbed after losing a spare key, you'll likely spend $100+ in locksmith fees to change the locks for peace of mind.)
And, speaking of keys, be careful what you hand to the valet, warns Adam Levin, chairman and cofounder of Identity Theft 911. "Remember that every time you stop and hand your key to a valet, depending on what's in the glove box [or trunk], you are making yourself vulnerable."
Instead: Keep your spare keys with a trusted relative or friend. If you're ever locked out, it may take a little bit longer to retrieve your backup key, but that's a relatively minor inconvenience.
Blank checks are an obvious risk-an easy way for thieves to quickly withdraw money from your checking account. But even a lost check you've already filled out can lead to financial loss-perhaps long after you've canceled and forgotten about it. With the routing and account numbers on your check, anybody could electronically transfer funds from your account.
Instead: Only carry paper checks when you will absolutely need them. And leave the checkbook at home, bringing only the exact amount of checks you anticipate needing that day.
Multiple Credit Cards
Although you shouldn't ditch credit cards altogether (those who regularly carry a card tend to have higher credit scores than those who don't), consider a lighter load. After all, the more cards you carry, the more you'll have to cancel if your wallet is lost or stolen. We recommend carrying a single card for unplanned or emergency purchases, plus perhaps an additional rewards card on days when you expect to buy gas or groceries.
Also: Maintain a list, someplace other than your wallet, with all the cancellation numbers for your credit cards. They are typically listed on the back of your cards, but that won't do you much good when your wallet is nowhere to be found
Lamkin Wealth Management
5151 Jefferson Blvd., Suite 102
901 Lily Creek Drive Ste. 102
office: 502-961-6550 Office
toll free: 866-961-6550
"Securities Offered Through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC and an Investment Advisor"