Legal Tip: Take Photos of the Contents of Your Wallet & Store Them on Your Smartphone

Identity theft is rampant.  You hear horror stories over and over again.  To protect yourself, you should avoid supplying personal and financial information online except in connection with verifiable, reputable sites.

But what about “old style” identity theft?  Indeed, sometimes despite your best efforts, there are occasions where your wallet, purse or briefcase is lost or stolen.

One way to protect yourself is to take a photo of the contents of your wallet or and store them in a password protected app on your smartphone — e.g. take a photo of the front and back sides of your credit cards, your license, and your health insurance card.  Indeed, in the unfortunate event your wallet is stolen, you will need to call your bank and credit card companies to cancel your cards, and it would be helpful to have their customer service numbers readily available along with your account information.  Having photos will also enable you simply to remember what cards are actually in your wallet, too.  (Not to mention, having the photos on your smartphone can be handy for those times when you forget your wallet and need your ID or health insurance card, for example.)

CAUTION: Store photos of your cards only if access to your phone is password protected, or if you use an phone app that is password protected. The last thing you want is to have your phone stolen or lost — as if that isn’t bad enough — and to compound that problem by having your credit card info inadvertently available to the thief as well.

Either way, though — whether it involves online or “old style” identity theft — you should timely and carefully monitor your credit card and bank statements for unauthorized or fraudulent transactions.  Under the law, you are NOT responsible for fraudulent transactions if you timely discover and report them.

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