13 Things You Should Never Carry in Your Purse

Protect yourself from theft and fraud by leaving these items locked up at home.
Updated May 10, 2024
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luxury watch and feminine accessories

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Whether you realize it or not, your purse is a gold mine for thieves.

Not only can a crook steal money and other valuables from your purse, but it’s also possible to use the information inside to steal your identity.

So, if your goal is to grow your wealth — and to protect the money you already have — keep the following sensitive and valuable items out of your purse.

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Social security card

steheap/Adobe unfilled USA social security card

There is little need to have a document as sensitive as your Social Security card in your purse.

In most situations, your driver’s license is all you need when you are asked for identifying information. Except when you absolutely need it, keep your Social Security card at home.

Debit/credit cards

volff/Adobe credit cards

While these cards come with some built-in security features — such as a chip, or the need to punch in a PIN to use the card — carrying around too many debit and credit cards is an unnecessary risk.

Perhaps you can enter your debit and credit cards into a digital wallet — which you usually must open with your phone’s code or a fingerprint — for extra security.

Gift cards

dennizn/Adobe different gift cards

Like cash, gift cards can be spent by anyone who peeks into your purse and helps themselves. Keep these at home until you're ready to use them.

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Identifying documents

Evgenia Parajanian/Adobe certificate of live birth application

Passports, birth certificates, and other important documents contain too much sensitive information to leave in your purse.

Carrying these documents around makes it easy for identity thieves to get the info they need to impersonate you. In addition, once they go missing, it’s a hassle to replace them.


NIKCOA/Adobe writing and signing checkbook

Your checkbook contains a surprising amount of identifying information — your phone number, address, signature, and checking account number.

Unless you plan on writing a physical check on your outing, keep your checkbook at home instead of your purse.

Work badge

Olivier Le Moal/Adobe punctuality at work swipe-card system

We get it: You need your work badge to access your office. But if a thief gets their hands on it, they can also get into your office.

So, either wear your badge or keep it in your pocket.


Wanisa/Adobe pin code message concept

If you have a poor memory, you might need to write down PINs and passwords in case you forget them. But your purse is one of the worst places to keep this list.

Try to commit your PINs and passwords to memory. If you can’t, keep the list at home in a secure location.

Large amounts of cash

RomanR/Adobe counting large amount of money

Keeping large amounts of cash in a purse is a classic invitation for thieves. Unlike with your credit cards, there is little hope of getting cash back once the money has been stolen.

Only keep as much cash in your purse as you absolutely need.


kenwnj/Adobe capsules in prescription bottle

Prescription medications are a common target of thieves, so only keep the medicine you need on your person.

Stolen pills are unlikely to hurt your finances, but they could jeopardize your health and well-being, especially if you cannot quickly replace them.

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USB drives

PheelingsMedia/Adobe connecting usb flash drive

USB drives that aren’t encrypted or protected by a password can be a security risk also. If the drive contains sensitive information, a thief can access it with their computer as easily as you can.

Work documents

Cozine/Adobe document with paper clip folder

Work documents might seem like an unlikely target for theft, but some papers have Social Security numbers or other important identifying information. Sensitive documents for work deserve special treatment.

Spare key

tetxu/Adobe holding house key in hand

On its own, losing a spare key is unlikely to result in trouble. However, when paired with your driver’s license — which has your address on it — a thief knows exactly what the spare key will open.

Business credit cards

dianagrytsku/Adobe man paying with credit card online

While it might not make sense to add a business credit card to your digital wallet, carrying it in your purse can be risky.

This is particularly true if it’s tied to your employer’s account rather than a business you own, as you may not be able to monitor the charges if the card goes missing.

Bottom line

Yuriy Pankratov/Adobe thiefs hand pulling a purse

Keeping some of these items at home rather than in a purse can be inconvenient at times. However, many of these items just aren’t worth the risk of bringing into public, where they can be snatched.

It may be a hassle to remember to grab these items when you really need them. But if you want to boost your bank account by protecting your finances, a little inconvenience is a small price to pay to avoid the damage of stolen money or a compromised identity.

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Author Details

Jenni Sisson Jenni Sisson is a freelance writer and editor who focuses on personal finance, real estate, and entrepreneurship. She has been published in Business Insider and The Ways to Wealth. In addition to writing, Jenni hosts the Mama's Money Map podcast to help fellow stay-at-home moms on their journey to financial freedom.

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