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Home » Identity Theft

8 Ways to Limit Financial Loss from Theft of a Purse or Wallet

Last updated by on December 31, 2013

My wife and I were on our way to visiting my parents and decided to stop by a favorite park to take a walk. The walk lasted about an hour, we left, and arrived at my parents house. Soon after, my wife realized that her purse was missing. As it turns out, she had placed it in the trunk of our car while we went for our walk.

We typically always lock our vehicles, but figured that this time there is a chance that we did not. There were no signs of breaking and entering the vehicle, so the thief must have opened the door, popped the trunk, and taken the purse. Our best guess is that someone was sitting in the parking lot, watched her put the purse in the trunk, and grabbed it while we were on the walk. Quite disturbing when you think about it.

Here’s the Main Items that were Stolen in the Purse:

  • stolen wallet or purseThe purse itself, and a wallet inside
  • A cell phone
  • A brand new digital camera
  • Multiple credit and debit cards
  • A few gift cards
  • About $20 in cash
  • Her drivers license

All-in-all, about $250 worth of stuff was stolen.

So what did we Learn from Getting things Stolen?

  1. Never put something in your trunk that you can slide under the seat instead (purse/wallet, phone, camera). If you’re being watched, like we were, it’s incentive for your trunk to become a target. Don’t leave anything of value in sight. EVER. In our case, being seen putting of value out of sight was no different than leaving it clearly in view.
  2. Your insurance deductible must be paid off before anything of value over the deductible is covered. Our auto insurance deductible is $2500, but only $250 worth of stuff was stolen. Therefore, nothing was covered. Had $3,000 worth of stuff been covered, we would have had to pay a $2,500 deductible, and then the insurance company would have covered the $500 difference between our deductible, and what was stolen.
  3. Cancel your cards immediately. Luckily, we were able to cancel all cards before they were compromised. We first called on our debit cards and then hit the credit cards as soon as we found out the purse was stolen.
  4. We’re thankful she only had $20 in cash in her purse. Really, do you ever need more than that with credit/debit cards? Limit the amount of cash you carry, and don’t carry checks with you unless you use them frequently for purchases.
  5. Don’t leave valuable items like digital cameras in your purse. It’s bad enough to have something like a purse be stolen from you, our thief probably got all he wanted and much more.
  6. Take a photocopy of all of your credit/debit cards, drivers license, and any other personal identifiers. These copies will come in handy when you need to cancel quickly and get replacements.
  7. NEVER keep your social security card in your wallet/purse. My wife didn’t, and that would have been a mess neither of us would be happy to deal with.
  8. Always keep your purse/wallet on you unless you have no option.

Identity Theft/Stolen Purse or Wallet Discussion:

  • Have you been a victim of purse/wallet theft? Do you have additional lessons to share?
  • What’s the most valuable thing you’ve ever had stolen?
  • Let’s hear your personal story!

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About the Author
I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 10,000+ others by getting FREE email updates. You can also explore every post I have written, in order.

  • FruGal says:

    “Never put something in your trunk that you can slide under the seat instead (purse/wallet, phone, camera). If you’re being watched, like we were, it’s incentive for your trunk to become a target. Don’t leave anything of value in sight. EVER.”

    I would further this by saying, don’t even bother leaving anything of value in your car, ever, even if you are hiding it out of sight. Is it worth the hassle of replacing everything in it, just to be able to go for a walk without carrying it?

    Also, keep a list of the ‘lost or stolen’ phone numbers for all your credit/debit cards at home. It’s usually printed on the back of the card itself, which isn’t much help once it’s gone. Cancelling them as fast as possible is vital, and can take a while once you’ve been passed from department to department. My mum’s handbag was once stolen and within literally 15 minutes the thief had bought themselves a new stereo system!

  • Craig says:

    Scary to think that you guys were actually being watched and it was a planned attacked. Cancel everything is smart and what everyone says right away. What type of paperwork is involved with driver’s license and other stuff that may need to get done?

  • Shaun says:

    I don’t carry more than $10 with me at any given time. I pay off my credit cards at the end of every week, so carrying any more simply isn’t needed — especially if I go with someone else.

    Also, I get cash back with a credit card. I only get change back when I use cash. Ha! A pun! 😉

  • Iron Door says:

    My bad experience was much like this story except I left a laptop in the car. My window was smashed. Although my laptop was cheap, the data on it was priceless. I had all banking info, passwords, codes to access the car and the garage etc. To make a long story short, I was able to spend a several days online and on the phone calling, canceling, reprogramming basically everything in my life.

  • G.E. Miller says:

    @ Fru Gal – Great suggestions.

    @ Craig – not sure what you mean.

    @ Shaun – always the joker.

    @ Iron Door – yeah, that’s really tough. Even having to re-progam all your phone numbers in a cell phone is a pain. All hail cloud computing.

  • adele says:

    Hope one day I will buy some financial products to protest last life…

  • Brian says:

    By the way, auto insurance won’t cover stuff in your car unless it’s attached to the car (ex. audio receiver mounted, GPS mounted, etc.). It’s a common misconception. Stolen property would fall under your renters/home insurance.

  • Britt (Your Roth IRA) says:

    It’s also a good idea to look into a service such as LifeLock. In case anyone does get ahold of your social security number along with your other information, it keeps them from opening new credit accounts in your name.

    I’m sorry this happened to you. Fortunately, I’ve never had to deal with a stolen wallet before. I always carry my wallet in my front pocket and never lay it down except in one particular place at home. However, I will forward this post to my wife so we can make sure we have the checklist covered. I’ll probably make photocopies of everything tonight. That’s a great idea that never occured to me…

  • Megan says:

    Another thought is to take a digital picture (or scan the cards, licence, etc) and keep it on google docs (or email it to yourself) so you can access the information from any computer and do not have to get home to the paper documents.

    Also, if you don’t USE your cards all the time, keep them safely locked up at home and only take what you need.

    Finally, for those with a bag, if you are going somewhere and you know you don’t want to carry it (and don’t need all the stuff in it), put wallets and keys in your pocket or your companion’s pocket.

  • Evgeniy says:

    Sometimes purse interfere. But if you leave the purse, then there must be things that do not afford to lose and easy to repair. Google docs is not quite safe.Your account can hack and a hacker will be a lot of information about you. Is better to your hosting


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