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As the world becomes more connected through technology, individuals are quickly losing their privacy. Personal and private information about individuals is contained all over the place. The everyday contents of a personal wallet such as credit cards, driver’s license, membership cards, vehicle registration, and other cards are all associated with various different databases. Many databases exist in today’s society that contain and manage information which affect many areas in one’s personal life.
A wallet is a great example of how there a many databases associated with the contents. For example, a driver’s license is attached to a database in the division of motor vehicles of a particular state. The information contained about a driver’s license is a person’s name, address, driver’s license number, date of birth, photograph, etc. Then, all of this information is linked into a database that contains violation and accident history. Local and Federal government agencies use this as a starting point for investigations and they have access to this information. They can track information from these databases such as warrants, any arrest history, and previous addresses. When applying for driver’s licenses in other states, the other states can look up information about the individual from other state’s motor vehicle databases.
Another example of content inside of a person’s wallet is a credit card. There is much information stored about a consumer who own one or more credit cards. When one applies for a credit card, personal information is required on the application. Information such as one’s social security number, which is another database in itself, and items such as name, address, mother’s maiden name, date of birth and employment history. The information then gets compared with information from credit reporting agencies to see if one is worthy of receiving the credit card. The credit agencies contain information that has been reported from other institutions of who the individual has or does not have credit with. The credit agencies received information constantly from all of the institution in which an individual has credit. The information which is reported is items such as payment histories, balances, account open and close dates, and available credit.
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"Databases And A Personal Wallet." 123HelpMe.com. 29 Mar 2020
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Social Security Card
Hopefully one doesn’t carry his or her Social Security Card on them, but it is a common item found in many peoples wallet. A Social Security Number is one of the keys to the kingdom of an individual’s privacy. It is a unique identifier that credit agencies, schools, banks, and many other government and consumer organizations use to identify a person. The information stored about an individual at the Social Security Agency may contain bank transaction history (The SSA is required to be notified about bank transactions greater than $10,000.), employment history, salary history, education history, tax history, credit history, etc. The Social Security Number seems to be a requirement for everything a person signs up for. Privacy concerns were raised about the Social Security number when the retirement program was first rolled out in the 1930s – with assurances from the government that the Social Security number would only be used for that system. Increasingly, private and public entities have been using the Social Security number for client/customer tracking. It took until 2001 when the Social Security act was enacted to protect the consumer. The act prohibits the sale and purchase of an individual’s Social Security number by a financial institution. What happened during the first 60+ years of Social Security though?
Hotel or Frequent Flyer Cards
Another example of a wallet item is a Frequent Flyer Card or a Hotel Card that tracks information such as travel information or flight information of an individual. Information is stored about flight costs and hotel costs. These organizations are able to use this information to send consumers solicitation for trips and flights. They may also share this information with affiliated or non-affiliated third parties so they may solicit you as well.
Receipts and other Misc. Items
Another scary item many people keep in their wallets is items such as credit card receipts that have their signature as well as credit card numbers on it. If a wallet is lost or stolen, the individual who finds it can copy the signature and go shopping with the credit card. ATM receipts are another item that can be a dangerous item if lost. The receipt may let someone know what financial institution the individual banks with and it may contain a portion of the individual’s account number.
It is important that the contents of a wallet be kept secure. If the information found in a wallet got into the wrong hands, the individual who the wallet belonged to could be trying to explain their way out of an identity theft situation. So next time you open your wallet be sure to examine its contents and remove any items that are necessary to be carried. Most of all keep the wallet secured at all times.