I lost my wallet over the holiday season. Maybe someone took it; I really do not know and it does not matter. Aside from the loss of something sentimental, I do not need to express the hassle around replacing everything in one’s wallet. For three days I tore apart the house, the neighbor’s house, the car, and traveled all around town asking merchants if they had seen it. I must have retraced my steps ten times and I was frantically checking my accounts every three hours; I was sick over it.
Here was the silver lining:
They had the card number, the three/four digit security codes, and my physical address (for a billing zip code). Theoretically, they had everything they needed to make purchases online. However, I have a P.O. Box that I use for all my billing purposes. It is located in a different zip code than my physical address, so they could not input an accurate address tied to the card. Ah ha! My license has my physical address on it, but after checking my accounts over and over again, I realized even if someone had my wallet, they could not use the cards to make a purchase.
We cannot be too careful these days with our identity. In the wealth management practice, I show clients how to protect themselves using shredders, checking credit reports 2x a year, the use of lock boxes or safes in the home to protect important documents, etc.
This past holiday season has taught me to include one more thing. For $35 dollars a year, you can have a P.O. box outside your physical address’ zip code or different than your license zip code to better protect yourself. If you pay your credit cards online, then you do not even have to go there, but every so often. Or BETTER yet create a paperless account and link credit cards to a cash management program for categorization and tax planning.
The P.O. Box helped us maintain the security of the family finances and that was a great holiday gift!