Making copies of everything in your wallet can help investigators in the event it gets stolen
Try this. Place the contents of your wallet on a copy machine. Copy both sides of everything you have. Copy your driver license, your credit cards, your bank cards, discount cards, etc.
Why? Read the following statement from a police officer with years of experience working with this type of crime:
"Making several good, color photocopies of everything you have inside your wallet won't prevent your wallet from being stolen. It will give the investigator good leads. All of your account information and numbers are right there. Many people don't think about copying the store discount cards. But what if a criminal is stupid enough to use one?" asked the officer.
"We can track that person down to to the store in which they used it, leading to the possibility of catching that person. Police officers can't charge that person with possession of stolen property, being the discount card, if it isn't reported along with the rest of your wallets contents. If the person had that little card, the chances are good that person will know what happened to the rest of the wallet."
The following tips will help you avoid becoming an identity theft victim:
- Cancel your credit cards immediately if your wallet is stolen.
- Never carry a Social Security card.
- If you think your number may have been compromised, call each of the three major credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number.
The key is having the toll-free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. That's where your photocopies come in handy. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where it was stolen, proving to credit providers that you were diligent in trying to prevent any subsequent fraud.
Doing so only increases the chances that the card and number can fall into the wrong hands.
The alert means that any company that checks your credit knows your information was possibly stolen and must call you first at the number you provide before authorizing ANY credit. Hopefully, you will stop the thieves in their tracks.
The key, of course, is to avoid becoming a victim of crime. Never leave your items out in plain sight, especially in a car; it only takes a moment for a thief to "smash-and-grab" anything in your vehicle, be it a wallet, cell phone, or portable navigation system. Never carry more money than you need for a particular trip, and never let your belongings out of your sight.
Here are the phone numbers for the three major credit reporting companies and the Social Security Administration Fraud Line:
- Equifax : 1-800-525-6285
- Experian : (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
- Trans Union : 1-800-680-7289
- Social Security Administration Fraud Line : 1-800-269-0271