Phones and wallets are so convenient. Sometimes they feel like they contain your entire life. They contain credit cards, debit cards, photos, email, bank account information, social media accounts.
Losing either phone, wallet, or both can be devastating.
Before you lose your phone and wallet and realize just how difficult it is to replace what they contain, take these steps:
- Make a list of everything in your wallet. By creating a list, it will be easier to replace the missing items if something happens to your wallet.
- Write down account numbers and phone numbers. Credit cards and debit cards often have toll free phone numbers on the back that can help you. If these numbers are in your missing wallet, they aren’t much help. By writing down the phone numbers and account numbers, it will be much easier and quicker to prevent fraudulent charges and order replacement cards. Another option is to keep photocopies of your credit and debit cards.
- Never keep your Social Security card with your wallet. It’s safer to leave your Social Security card at home. Thieves can use this information to steal your identity and wreak havoc with your financial life for a long time.
- Put a lock on your phone. Don’t give would-be identity thieves easy access to your personal information. Set up a lock for your phone. Some phones allow you to do a biometric (fingerprint) lock, but every smartphone should let you add a PIN or password. That way, if your phone has been stolen, you can wipe your personal information from it before the thief can access it.
- Sync your photos. The pictures in your phone can be just as valuable as the cards and money in your wallet. The memories and messages they represent are difficult to replace. Download a free app such as PhotoSync or flickr to store your photos in more than one location so you won’t lose your photos forever if you lose your phone.
- Keep your PIN numbers and passwords out of your wallet. This is a main reason why losing a phone can be so devastating—the phone saves all passwords, so a thief doesn’t need to know the password to steal your account. Don’t make your wallet as vulnerable as an unlocked phone. Keep your PIN numbers in a separate, safe place.
Losing a phone or wallet is something nobody wants. However, by preparing for the possibility you can reduce the negative impact if it happens.