At a restaurant, do you hang your purse on the back of your chair and “forget” about it? Do you lay your wallet and/or cell phone on the table? When shopping, do you leave your purse in your cart and walk away from it for only a moment?
How often are you aware of your surroundings? Are you constantly asking yourself, “Where is my purse? wallet? cell phone?”
Awareness of your valuables is half the battle of crime prevention and it’s something you can train yourself to do better. Start now by asking yourself, Where is my “wallet”? Continue asking yourself this question throughout the day, week, and even the month. Soon it will become second nature to be aware of where your valuables are.
- For safety reasons NEVER carry your Social Security card with you. There are only a few times when you absolutely need it. This is one of the easiest ways for thieves to steal your identity. Leave it at home, preferable in a locked box or safe.
- Clear our your wallet daily. Accumulating receipts is a bad idea. Thieves can use the last four numbers of your credit card on a receipt to fish for more information with a merchant who has the card on file (e.g., cable company, online retailer). If you’re in the habit of using receipts to track your purchases, or feel you may need to return an item, think about going paperless. Use your cell phone’s camera or one of the many available phone scanning apps.
- Leave excess credit cards at home (again, in a locked location). Choose your favorite and/or business card to keep for daily purchases. You can even rotate them monthly in your wallet, ensuring that each card is being used so there is no possibility of it being cancelled for non-use. Be sure to take a picture of all your credit cards to keep in a digital file or write down the credit card name and number in case you need to cancel them if your purse or wallet is stolen.
- Be sure your cell phone has a password lock. Even if the phone is lost or stolen it will make retrieving your information by a thief more difficult.