If you’ve been carrying these items in your bag, it might be time to leave them home. In the wrong hands, you could become a victim of identity theft, get fired from your job or even suffer from certain medical conditions.
Read on to find out what items you should leave at home from this moment on if you know what’s good for you!
If you can’t seem to be able to remember passwords, you might feel the need to carry them with you in your bag. “Some people feel passwords are safer in their bag than at home because it’s always on them, but nothing could be further from the truth,” says Eva Velasquez, CEO and president of Identity Theft Resource Center. “You’re much more apt to lose your purse or wallet than have a break-in.” The safest way is to know by heart all your login information, but if that’s difficult and impractical, Velasquez recommends keeping all your passwords in a passcode-protected smartphone app.
Depending on your bank, recovering your money after a check fraud or fraudulent transactions could last from a day to four months, Sileo warns. He suggests finding another payment option because checks are among the easiest things to steal. If you’re into check writing and don’t want to call it quits, don’t keep the whole book in your bag; only a few checks should be enough.
Credit cards and debit cards may look identical, but the latter offers less fraud protection and exposes you to a higher risk when making your purchases. “I’m not a huge fan of always having a debit card with you, because the cash disappears from your account and you have to prove it was you before you get it back, unlike a credit card, where you can stop the charges and the money never leaves your account,” warns John Sileo, CEO of cybersecurity group Sileo Group.
That’s why he recommends using a credit card for most of your purchases, and an ATM-only card with a PIN when you need cash. On this note, here are 9 things you should never keep in your wallet. Do you think credit cards are on the list?
It might seem fancy to carry your work badge with you and even put it on display, attached to your bag or jeans. But if you lose it or someone steals it from you, you’ll be giving access to a stranger to your workplace and that can only spell trouble. Sileo suggests using a separate bag during the weekend or taking your work ID out whenever you leave the office.
Carrying a laptop is not easy. In fact, it’s probably the heaviest item in your bag. Whether it’s a handbag or a purse, the weight of the laptop inside could be causing you back pain, strain your shoulder, affect your posture and even your neck and spine, according to Steven Shoshany, MD, of NYC Chiropractic. If you need to carry your laptop around, at least do it in a messenger bag or a backpack, in order for the weight to be distributed more evenly, Shoshany recommends.
You might not become a victim of identity theft with receipts alone, but if a thief pairs them with other documents, he might find it easier to pretend to be you. “It’s giving a thief a great picture of who you are and where you shop,” Velasquez says. “All fraud analytics look for anomalies in behavior, and your receipts show where you shop.”
With the help of your old receipts, someone might succeed in making purchases before you can cancel the card, therefore take them out from your bag when you get home.
“A lot of Americans think of their smartphone as a phone instead of a mobile computer that happens to make calls,” Sileo says. An unprotected phone is nothing but an easy target and gives easy access to strangers to the personal and important information you have stored in your apps. More than that, don’t think a four-digit password can’t be easily cracked by. Sileo suggests using a longer and more difficult code, or log in using fingerprint, face, or voice recognition.
An umbrella might come in handy when there’s a 35 percent chance of rain, but a bulky umbrella will only add unneeded weight to your purse. “Keep an umbrella in your car, or keep one at work and one at home,” Shoshany suggests.
Full-size beauty products
Don’t put a strain on your back by carrying around big bottles of hairspray or perfume. In the long term, the constant weight and stress you put on your shoulder could start pulling it out, Shoshany warns. “Downsize from full sizes to travel sizes to lighten the load,” he says.
If you lose cash, you’re more likely not getting it back. Same story with gift cards. You won’t be able to get them back if you lose them, that’s why you should have them with you only when you know for sure you’re going to use them in the store, Sileo says. If you’re worried you won’t remember to take them with you when you do decide to go shopping in a certain store, leave gift cards in your car in a hidden container like an Altoids tin.
Social security number
“Your social security number is the critical piece of information a thief needs to carry out identity theft,” Velasquez warns. Unless you’ve started a new job and need a copy for your employer, leave your social security card at home, stored in a safe place. Here are 5 of the most common scams to watch out for that involve your social security number!
“Passports are hard to forge, which means a real one will be accepted more easily than other stolen documents”, Velasquez says. For this reason, it’s best that you carry it with you only if you use it as your primary identifier, although Velasquez suggests a state ID instead. Here’s another place you should never keep your passport along with 6 other items.