It happens. When I was renewing my drivers licence last month, I witnessed a man at the counter with absolutely NO identification on him at all. He had told the agent he was robbed and that his wallet with every of his credit cards, licenses, health card, etc. were all taken. He had nothing. They even took his smartphone!

And to make matters worse for him, he wasn’t able to get a replacement drivers license without having some other form of identification (which he had none).

You don’t have to be a “digital guru” to safeguard your documents!

So what can you do if this happens? Let’s hope it never happens, but here’s some things you should do immediately to protect and safeguard your important identity documents.

  • For those important documents that you MUST carry with you, photocopy or take a photo with your smartphone of them. These may include items like your drivers license, credit cards, retailer loyalty cards, social security card, auto-insurance, vehicle ownernship, passport, and any other pieces of identification that are important to you.
  • For documents that you don’t have to carry with you, make a photocopy anyhow of them, or take a photo with your smartphone and make sure they are locked up and secure in a portable fire-safe or a safety deposit box.
  • In the safety deposit box or fire-safe should reside a copy of EVERY single document, license or card that you have. If you are like me, I don’t have photocopies, but rather I have photos of all my documents (front and back) saved digitally in Evernote, which is an app to store notes and documents. I also lock-down my Evernote account with 2-Factor Authentication to prevent someone gaining access, especially if they may by chance guess my password.

To a lot of people, being without your smartphone is just like being without your wallet! Your smartphone is no different than your important documents. It should be safeguarded with a security code that is not easy for others to guess. In addition, your smartphone should be backed up regularly, either to your computer, or a secure Cloud environment (not Google).

Depending on where you live, you may not need to carry your ORIGINAL documents for vehicle ownership, auto-insurance, or even your social security card with you. In those cases, a copy will do just fine. Check with your local municipality to determine what the rules are. The less you have to carry, the better!

It’s important to note that the photocopied documents and the photos of the documents you took with your smartphone do not replace the originals, but they will help you in many cases to obtain replacement cards/licenses if needed.