Older people are at greater risk of being targeted by thieves such as purse snatchers.  A recent purse snatching incident in Ottawa, Ontario luckily did not leave the older person injured and a good Samaritan managed to find the thief and return the stolen purse (1).   The thief is counting on the older person having less strength to resist and less willingness or physical stamina to take pursuit.

Too many of us are carrying unnecessary stuff on our person – whether it is stored in a wallet or in a purse.  If a theft or loss occurs, the risks of identity theft increase.  As well, some of the documents or mementos may be impossible to replace.  Many people have been much more upset over a special photo or letter that was in the purse and can never be replaced than their concern over the money that was stolen.

Consider removing these from your purse or wallet

These items are infrequently requested and are difficult to replace.  Many of them are safer in a safety deposit box.  Keep a photo copy in your home so it’s easy to complete forms if the document information is required.

  1. Social insurance card
  2. Citizenship card
  3. Passport
  4. More than 1 credit card
  5. Treasured photo (get a copy made so you can keep the photo with you but the original is safely stored)
  6. Bank/ATM cards (keep the one used most frequently.  Store the others at home.  Don’t store the PIN with the cards)
  7. Valuable jewellery
  8. Keys rarely used but difficult to replace

Consider keeping these in your purse or wallet:

  1. Drivers licence
  2. 1 credit card
  3. 1 ATM card
  4. Health card
  5. Card for services such as CAA
  6. Minimal amount of cash

Another safety measure is to separate the government and banking cards from all other cards.  For example, many of us have cards for retail loyalty points, library, and other discounts.  There’s no reason to pull all valuable cards out of your wallet or purse if you are looking for a library card.

This is a simple change.  If you do lose a wallet or purse you will be thankful you took the time to reduce the information carried.

(1) http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Good+Samaritan+tracks+down+thief+after+elderly+woman+robbed/8559186/story.html