Many of us are carrying around a range of items giving fraudsters significant clues about our financial lives. So what’s in your wallet?
The contents of wallets can be a gold mine for thieves – and it’s not just cash or cards potentially helping them hit the jackpot.
New research suggests millions of us are leaving ourselves open to fraud, simply because of the items we carry in our wallets.
Plastic and cash are the most popular contents, with debit cards (89%), cash (69%) and credit cards (51%) among the most carried items in the UK, according to the findings from financial consultants Enryo.
Unfortunately, if the contents of our wallets fall into the wrong hands, they can give fraudsters significant details about our financial lives – such as names, addresses, bank details and even passwords. These details can be pieced together like a jigsaw, and thieves might use the information to empty a victim’s bank account.
Director at Enryo David Fagleman (pictured) says:
“People are certainly making use of a multitude of payment methods – cash, debit and credit cards.
“However, what is very worrying is people are still carrying lots of personal financial details around with them. People need to be very aware of what they carry in their wallets or purses, because if they lose them, they could really open themselves up to financial fraud.”
While cards can be used to commit fraud, we’re also leaving other useful information for thieves to steal identities – with six in 10 (60%) keeping their driving licence in their wallet, in the survey of over 2,100 people.
One in 16 (6%) people are also carrying details of addresses and other contact details around – whether it’s their own details, or those of someone else they know.
And one in eight (12%) keep photos of themselves or loved ones stashed in their wallet.
Alarmingly, one in 25 people (4%) said they also carry their PIN written down, while 1% carry their passwords for online accounts, such as their bank account.
Researchers found those aged over 45 are most likely to be keeping a written copy of their PIN.
It is also important to bear in mind banks may refuse refunds for unauthorised transactions if they find a customer deliberately, or with “gross negligence”, failed to protect the details of their card, PIN or password, in a way that allowed a transaction to happen.
Being a victim of fraud is a worry for those surveyed, with over a third (36%) concerned about the increase in fraud associated with digital payments, and over a quarter (26%) not confident their bank would reimburse them for the amount lost if they fell victim to financial fraud.
And although there have been signs of cash use falling during the pandemic, more than two-fifths (42%) of those surveyed say they still regularly carry more than £15 with them. Just under one in 10 (8%) carry over £50 in their wallet.
Many wallets are also stuffed with loyalty cards, with nearly half (48%) of people now carrying cards for places such as their regular supermarket or favourite coffee shop. A third (32%) of us are also carrying receipts around in our wallets.
With joining the gym being a popular activity at this time of year, more than a quarter (27%) of us have a membership card of some type in our wallet.
So the next time you grab your wallet to make a trip to the shops, it may be worth making a New Year resolution to clear out some of the contents, and make sure you’re only carrying the items you really need with you.
At the very least, it could make it easier to remember which cards you need to cancel if the worst does happen and your wallet is stolen.
Photo credit: Enryo.