10 Worst Things to Keep in Your Wallet

Storing a spare key, your passport book or card or any other important item in your wallet leaves you open to identity theft — or worse.

Woman lost purse/wallet, walking away
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Nothing gets your heart and mind racing like reaching for your wallet — and discovering it’s gone. Missing. Lost. You check your car seat. The top of the dresser where you usually keep it. Did you drop it? Or were you the victim of a pickpocket? Following our advice on what not to keep in your wallet won’t eliminate that feeling, but it may lower the panic level.

If your wallet is bursting with personal and financial information, you should know that much of that information can be exploited by identity thieves. All the bad guys need to get started is your name and Social Security number. That alone can lead to bogus loan applications and the opening of fraudulent accounts. It can get worse if they can steal from your wallet your government-issued photo ID, including your passport or passport card, and doctor the image.

We contacted consumer protection experts to identify the things you should immediately purge from your wallet. Oh, and one quick tip before we dive in: Photocopy the front and back of whatever documents you continue to keep in your wallet. Put that photocopy in a safe place at home, where you can easily retrieve it. If your wallet is lost or stolen, you can at least quickly and easily file reports with the appropriate government agencies and financial institutions.

Bob Niedt

Bob was Senior Editor at Kiplinger.com for seven years and is now a contributor to the website. He has more than 40 years of experience in online, print and visual journalism. Bob has worked as an award-winning writer and editor in the Washington, D.C., market as well as at news organizations in New York, Michigan and California. Bob joined Kiplinger in 2016, bringing a wealth of expertise covering retail, entertainment, and money-saving trends and topics. He was one of the first journalists at a daily news organization to aggressively cover retail as a specialty and has been lauded in the retail industry for his expertise. Bob has also been an adjunct and associate professor of print, online and visual journalism at Syracuse University and Ithaca College. He has a master’s degree from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a bachelor’s degree in communications and theater from Hope College.


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