My purse was stolen out of my car, what should I do? Ugh, first of all, I’m so sorry to hear this has happened to you. However, don’t panic. It’s important to keep your head straight so you can take important steps to protect yourself from the possible fallout. You don’t want to waste time and energy on fruitless worrying that accomplishes nothing.
First, let’s define the situation clearly. Yes, it’s both frightening and infuriating that somebody stole your purse. You probably feel violated as well. However, the most important thing to realize is that somebody else now has a lot of very personal information about you. This is information that could be used to spend your money or steal your identity. It’s very important to focus on securing your accounts and protecting your identity first. Once you’ve done that, you can focus on ways to help catch the thief.
What to do if your purse is stolen
When your purse is stolen, the most important thing focus on first is securing your credit card and bank accounts and protecting your identity. Once you’ve done that, there are a few other steps you’ll want to take as well.
Here are the steps I recommend taking (and do them in this order).
1) Cancel your credit cards and notify your bank immediately
If you’re like most people, you probably have credit cards and debit cards in your purse. It’s important to immediately call each credit card company and notify them of the theft. They’ll cancel the accounts and issue you new cards under a new account number.
You’ll also want to call your bank and let them know your debit card and/or checkbook has been stolen. They’ll be able to secure your checking and savings accounts and prevent the unauthorized withdrawal of funds.
2) Protect your identity immediately
Your purse is an absolute treasure trove of personal information that thieves could be using to spend your money and steal your identity even as you’re reading this. It’s critical that you protect your identity immediately. Click here for a service I personally use and recommend.
Think about all of the sensitive personal information that is likely in your purse:
- Full legal name
- Driver’s license number with your photo and date of birth
- Insurance cards
- Credit cards with account numbers, expiration dates, and security codes (basically, everything needed to go on an Amazon shopping spree, right?)
- Debit cards with account numbers, expiration dates, and security codes (everything needed to go on shopping sprees and drain your bank account, right?)
Many people also keep their Social Security card, Medicare card, and military ID in their purses as well. Again, your purse has most or all of the information thieves need to wreak havoc with your finances and credit.
If your identity is stolen, you could face a tedious, time-consuming, and expensive clean up process that can take years to complete. I know this because I’ve talked with people who have gone through it.
Identity theft can destroy your credit, which can make it more difficult (and expensive) to get a mortgage, car loan, or credit card. It may also be more difficult to get a job, professional certification, security clearance, apartment, or even just cell phone service.
Identity theft can also result in stolen tax refunds, drained bank accounts, and legal headaches over fraudulent debts taken out in your name.
Again, it’s critical that you protect your identity immediately. Click here for a service I’ve personally used for ten years and recommend highly. They can reduce the risk of identity theft by monitoring the dark web for your personal information. And if you become an identity theft victim, they can help you clean up the mess.
3) Freeze your credit
Your personal information can be used to open new credit card or loan accounts in your name. It’s important to freeze your credit files with Experian, Transunion, and Equifax right away:
4) File a police report as soon as possible
If your purse has been stolen, you’ll definitely want to file a police report. It may not seem like the police can do much, but it’s a good idea to get the crime into the official record in case somebody is caught with some or all of the contents of your purse. Plus, you will need to have a record of the theft to dispute fraudulent credit card charges with your bank or make claims on your insurance.
5) Change the locks on your home
If your keys were stolen along with your purse, you may want to consider changing the locks on your home.
If your purse was stolen, focus first on securing accounts and protecting your identity
Again, your purse is an absolute treasure trove of personal information. If your purse was stolen, the most important thing to do first is secure your accounts and protect your identity. Once you’ve done that, we recommend filing a police report, freezing credit, and (maybe) changing the locks on your home.
Having your purse stolen our of your car is a complete nightmare. You have my complete sympathy on this! I hope the information I’ve provided here was helpful.