My Homework Jan. 16, 2011

My Wallet

On Friday, I asked everyone to check their wallets for unnecessary items that can lead to identity theft, or worse.  Here's what I have:
  • Some store receipts - keep these only long enough to reconcile your bank account or note in your budget/spending log.  Even if they don't show a debit or credit card number, they can show places you frequent if someone got your wallet and wanted to make you a target
  • $24 in cash - enough for incidentals throughout the week, but not so much that I'd be badly hurt if it got lost or stolen.  I keep emergency funds in a different location
  • 3 business cards for local merchants - I should put them in my Outlook and phone just to make my wallet a little thinner
  • Emergency phone list for work - I need to get them in my Outlook and phone also, then keep the hard copy stashed in the truck and at home
  • Hunting license - I should keep it with my hunting kit at home - if someone gets my wallet it tells them my address and that I have at least one gun to steal
  • 2 challenge coins - I really only need one at a time - main reason is comfort and a thinner wallet
  • Retired LEO credentials - need to keep
  • Driver's License - need to keep
  • Debit card - need to keep for the time being, but I'm moving toward using that account for bills, then cash for all planned purchases
  • Credit Union member number - going in the shredder in just a minute
  • 2 grocery store discount club cards - The best way to do them is to not give your name and contact info when you sign up and to only use cash for groceries - I'm not quite there, yet but I can get rid of one card because I seldom shop there and when I do, they have a "store" card at the register
  • Another Debit card - this one I will keep - we only use this account for pay-at-the-pump gas, and transfer our budgeted amount into the account each month
  • Bank credit card - I'm almost at the point where I feel OK not having it "for emergencies"  soon, very soon
  • BJ's card - Like Sam's or Costco if you are not familiar - need to keep it - I get gas and groceries there regularly
  • Health Insurance Card - need to keep  - other than my name, it has no readily identifiable information - it wasn't that long ago that such cards had your SS# on them.
Some of the other things I mentioned Friday, are not so much concerns for ID theft as they are concerns for personal security.  If you have a spare house key in your wallet, if they find or steal it, they know where you live and how to get in.  If you have your child's school picture with the name on it, a pedophile can use that information to get to your kid.  Store credit cards can encourage unplanned purchases - if you must have them, keep them separately and only use them deliberately.

Basically, just carry the bare minimum in your wallet.  Don't give the bad guys any extra information.


We did not make it to the range to really learn the gun this weekend.  I did take the wife in the back yard with a few rotten pumpkins and let her get comfortable with it.  She had never shot a shotgun before, but did great and blew the pumpkins to smithereens.

Rock The Casbah

Twenty years ago today, the air war of Operation Desert Storm began.  The local paper had an article today that the reporter interviewed me for.  I got quoted several times.  Here's the article.

In honor of that event, enjoy Rock The Casbah, by The Clash.  As the coalition forces flew their first combat sorties into Iraq and Kuwait, this song played in the pilots' headsets.  Enjoy!


  1. A suggestion for spare house keys... If you have an external keypad for your garage door openers stash a spare house key in your garage. Someone would need to know the code and then find the key. This works well for me as my garage is detached from the house.

    My emergency phone list only uses initials not full names. The card is laminated and kept in my wallet for an emergency where I might not have access to my vehicle or cell phone. However, I need to re-do this card as there's lots of space on the back for either more numbers (could make card smaller) or other helpful information (like bleach dosage & times for example).

    When I was in Basic Training I concealed combination lock codes in fake phone numbers. Just add extra numbers to match the length needed.


  2. Steelheart -

    I like the idea of hiding the combination in a phone number. To hide a phone number, you can also pick a number and add it to the phone number. Say your number is 5. If the phone number is 288-5931, it becomes 733-0486, Works for bank account numbers also.


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