Money – People Will Steal Yours If You Let Them

I like money. I like to have it. I like to spend it. I like to keep it. More specifically, I like to keep mine safe until I’m ready to spend it. This is a story about how.

Several folks I know have recently reported having experienced identity theft. It’s never happened to me personally but it’s got to be something akin to a home invasion. I was sorry to hear about these sad crimes. Sure, identify theft happens all the time, but you know it’s just not real unless it happens to you or someone you know. Not only is it an invasion but getting the issue corrected, getting your bankroll back can be a great big hassle. On the heels of this tragedy I began to reflect on ways I protect my loot.

1. Restricted Debit Card Use – Most of the time when you hear about identity theft, the origins get traced back to this one. I heard a story about a guy that traveled all over Asia Pacific, where identify theft runs rampant, and only when he returned home and used his debit card at a gas station near his house did he get his identity stolen. The attendant at the station took one extra little swipe and bam. Victim. Personally, I only use my debit card at the ATM to take out cash.

2. Cash is King – There aren’t too many businesses that won’t take cash. Southwest Airlines no longer takes cash for drinks and snacks during their flights. They are the exception. Most places like cash because there’s no middle man taking a cut. You also have a tendency to spend less if you have to part with the actual greenbacks themselves as opposed to the 1’s and 0’s that is an electronic money exchange which is not a particularly visceral experience.

3. American Express – When I do need to use a card, for online purchases, hotel rooms, rental cars (or, umm, Best Buy) I use my Amex. Yes, I have a Visa and Discover as plans B and C but they’re only used when the business doesn’t take plan A. Why? They offer 100% forgiveness on all fraud. This happens immediately and without question. I simply dispute over the phone and it gets take care of. No paperwork on my end.

4. Bank Account Firewalls – A few weeks ago we moved the bulk of the bread from my checking into a new savings account. One of the tellers at my local Wells Fargo suggested this to me the last time I was in the branch. She asked if I was saving all the money in my checking for something specific. Was there something that I was planning to buy in the near future? No, I answered. Then it dawned on me what she was getting at. Now, even in the unlikely event someone does get their hands on the dough in my checking, the chips in my savings safe.

That’s it. It is these four simple rules that have kept my pesos safe thus far. In review: Use your debit card sparingly, mainly to take out cash to spend, use a bulletproof credit / charge card when you can’t use cash, and partition your money in the bank via checking and savings. Have yourself a happy holiday season and a identity theft free new year!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s