You go for a stroll in a busy area and suddenly you get the feeling that something is wrong. You notice that your purse feels lighter than usual and the realization hits you in the face: your wallet was STOLEN. This can happen to anybody, especially in crowded places.
In these types of situations, make sure you act quickly: call your bank and freeze the account and go straight to the nearest police station to report the stolen goods. The next step is to pray that the thief gets caught and you can get your belongings back.
Hopefully, you won’t have to go through such a thing, but it’s good to stay informed on what you can do. There are some ways to avoid the hassle and minimize the damage in case something like this happens to you.
Save yourself the trouble and make sure you don’t have the following items in your wallet:
1. Social Security card
Identity theft begins with your Social Security card. Anyone can steal your identity, open credit cards, and apply for loans in your name if your wallet is lost or stolen and contains your Social Security number.
The safest option is to take this card out of your wallet and store it in a safe place, away from thieves. Make sure you don’t have anything in your wallet with this number on it, as it is a crucial document, hard to recuperate, and a pickpocket’s number one target.
2. PIN numbers
One of the biggest threats to one’s safety is storing PIN numbers in your wallet, or even worse: attached to the back of your card. This is a huge mistake that many people make, because of their inability to remember this code. Try and keep this information written down on a piece of paper and keep it at home.
Don’t make the thief’s life easier by giving them the gateway to stealing your money and NEVER store this information in your wallet.
3. Emergency keys
Even though it seems like a good idea to be prepared with a spare key in case of emergency, you’re only giving the pickpocket more resources to steal from.
You might think: but how could he know where I live? The answer to this question is pretty obvious.. He can follow you home without you noticing and strike when you expect it least. Additionally, if it was a planned theft he might already know where you live and the key to your house is his free entry.
4. Birth certificate
Another important thing to keep away from your wallet is your birth certificate. Because this is a simple way for thieves to impersonate you, you should definitely not store it in your wallet, especially in its original form.
Since pickpockets don’t have good intentions, they might use your identity for illegal actions and you can even end up in JAIL!
5. Blank checks
Your Social Security number or driver’s license number should not be written on your checks. These numbers, when paired with other details on your checks, such as your name, address, phone number, and account number, might provide a thief enough information to apply for a loan, and/or credit card in your name.
If the thief does get hold of your blank checks, it would be easy for them to take money from you. Blank checks are not the most reliable form of paying, so you should use a credit card instead.
In addition, in case you want to throw them out you should always make sure you destroy them as best as you can, instead of just throwing them into the nearest trash can.
6. Unnecessary credit cards
Extra credit cards in your wallet do nothing but create temptation for thieves to leave you broke. It’s also an additional hassle for you in case your wallet gets stolen and you have to report the incident to each bank in particular. If you don’t freeze your accounts in time, you might end up in situations where debt is knocking at your door when you least expect it, and that is not an ideal situation.
Play it safe and remove any credit cards that you don’t use as often and keep them at home in a safe place that nobody knows about.
Besides taking up unnecessary space in your wallet, receipts can help the thief put together your credit card information and steal from you even if he didn’t find the card in your wallet. In case you need them for work, taxes or other things, it’s better to keep them somewhere else, away from thieves and this way you can also avoid losing them.
Just like with checks, be careful not to dispose of receipts without destroying them first, since any personal information in the wrong hands can cost you a lot.
Make sure you keep copies of what’s in your wallet
If it happens that you own or have access to a copy machine, don’t procrastinate and take a few minutes to make a copy of everything that is in your wallet, on both sides.
Keep them at home in a secure space such as a safe deposit. This is an investment that can save you a lot of trouble even if you don’t realize it, and you’ll thank me later. In case your wallet gets stolen, you’ll know exactly what you lost and what to do to replace it.
Better safe than sorry!
Always watch your back!
In order to avoid being pickpocketed, there is a list of things you can do to stay safe.
Firstly, you should be careful of scams and think ahead. Many thieves will often not be alone in this mission. A common thing they do is try to distract you by asking for directions, while their accomplice substracts your wallet or other valuable things without you noticing. You might think you aren’t that foolish to fall into their trap, but they have developed such methods that will make it hard for you to notice.
Another thing you can do is avoid crowded places, especially touristic ones. This is where thieves strike the most, since they can easily make themselves vanish into the crowd. Usually, they will act like they accidentally bumped into you so that you don’t feel your pocket go lighter.
Additionally, be aware that pickpockets are not usually what you would picture. Most of them are strategically well-dressed, in an attempt to blend in the environment and look non-threatening. This helps them get as close as possible to their targets, without looking suspicious, and strike when you least expect it. Most of them will look like regular people at a first glance: they wear brand clothes that people associate with middle-class people to throw you off.
As a conclusion, you should always be aware of your surroundings, be careful what you carry with you, and think ahead of the thieves, as thefts have significantly increased over the past few years and their methods have become more and more advanced.
Have YOU learned these lessons the hard way? Tell us in the comment section if you’ve ever experienced the consequences of theft.
And if you liked this article, make sure you also check out: 7 Genius Ways To Turn Trash Into Cash.