With the holidays fast approaching, I've started to think about the measures I need to take to protect our financial security while shopping throughout the holiday season. Unfortunately, criminals know that shoppers are likely to have cash, checks, debit cards, and/or credit cards on them while shopping, so it puts a giant target on them. Keeping that in mind, I've decided to limit the things I carry in my purse when I go shopping. Here are four things I only carry in my purse when I have to.
Personal checks have always been a way for criminals to access bank accounts, and now the Internet makes that task even easier. All the thieves need is your routing and account number from the bottom of your personal check, and they can shop at a lot of stores on the Internet without having to prove who they are. These people often ship items to empty homes to avoid drawing attentions to themselves, which allows them to rob you of your hard-earned money without getting caught. I for one never carry my checkbook in my purse. If I suspect I'll need to write a check I tear one out of the book and take it with me.
I admit that at one time I was guilty of carrying my credit card in my purse at all times, and I also used it quite a bit. However, after learning how easy it is for crooks to steal the information they need to use my card, I decided it was best to leave it at home, too. Luckily, it's now only used for emergencies, so I don't miss it too much.
Social security card
Most people are aware that carrying your social security card around with you is against the law because it is written on the card itself, but that doesn't mean they listen. I used to carry mine in my purse because it seemed people were always asking me for it as a form of identification. However, I decided to take it out of my purse once I realized that if a thief got their hands on it he/she could not only steal my money, but could also ruin my financial life.
I'm extremely cautious when it comes to paying for my purchases during the holiday season because everything is so hectic, which makes it's easy to miss a potential threat. I know that thieves can steal credit and debit card numbers using a scanner from outside the store without even seeing your card, so I avoid using those whenever possible. Without having other payment methods available, I'm left with cash being my only option, but I never keep that in my purse. A thief that targets ladies will most likely snatch her bag, so I keep my cash in the front pocket of my pants.
Having your purse stolen isn't ever a pleasant experience, but if you are careful with what you carry inside it, you can minimize your financial hardships.
*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.More from this contributor: First Person: My Black Friday Battle Plan