Keeping information safe is not as simple as making sure your wallet does not fall out of your pocket. In fact, some items marketed toward keeping your information safe can actually cause different problems. One perfect example of an ineffective, and irritating, method of keeping your wallet physically on your person is investing in pants with magnetic pockets.
First, a row of magnets will likely protect your wallet from falling out of your pocket. The magnets also have a high chance of destroying the magnetic strips on the backs of your cards. You can ruin the following in a single outing:
• Your driver’s license
• Your passport
• Your credit cards
• Your debit cards
• Your room key to your hotel
• Your access key to your office
• Your access key to your building
• Your access key to your gym
After all is said and done, a dozen ruined magnet strips results in a huge headache. Plus, thieves can still acquire sensitive information.
Credit card processing and identity theft in the United States is surrounded by numerous myths that do not actually mean much. In fact, you can only use cash and still have your identity stolen. A few pervasive myths include:
• You will be safe if you only use cash
• You cannot do anything about identity theft due to technology
• You are safe from theft if you use your debit card instead of your credit card
• You can safely store your Social Security card in your wallet
• You are not at risk if you do not shop online
• You can stop next generation pickpockets by putting your cards that have sensitive information on them in special folders
Pickpockets have figured out that stolen credit cards tend to get reported and cancelled fairly quickly. Instead of physically swiping the card and keeping the numbers, criminals can pick up all pertinent information from the tiny chip embedded in your card by picking up your card’s magnetic signal. Even worse, your state issued IDs and passport have the same chips. You might not notice that your sensitive information has been stolen for days, months, or even years. It is common practice for thieves to sell your sensitive information on the black market, and you might genuinely not know that anything went wrong until you try to take out a loan or rent a place to live.
You can throw out the magnet pants and take the tin foil cap off your head. While you’re at it, you can also unwrap your cards from cleverly creative DIY tin foil cases for good. You can research real ways to combat identity theft, and start to make smart investments. Instead of believing rumors and acting quickly, come up with simple solutions that keep your information safe without hindering your day-to-day activities. Instead of hoping for the best, invest in a simple card that will scramble potentially harmful signals and deter theft. No one will ever know, which is the best part.