Lost wallet or purse can mean stolen identity, say police

Your car has been broken into and your purse is missing or you left your wallet at your favorite restaurant.

What do you do next?

With identification from a stolen wallet or purse, thieves have been known to order expensive cell phone packages, apply for a credit card, and even change driving record information at the Department of Motor Vehicle.

If a victim loses their credit cards, cancel the cards immediately.

It is also advisable to keep the toll-free numbers and the credit card numbers available and in a separate place in case the card is stolen, Kingman police Cpl.

Tracie McKnight said.

File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where the purse or wallet was stolen.

Filing a report proves to credit providers the victim is diligent.

It will also give detectives a better chance of recovering lost items.

"Go ahead and report the theft to law enforcement," McKnight said.

"Sometimes people turn things in.

People have mailed us lost wallets."

To limit the loss if a wallet or purse is stolen, McKnight recommends carrying exactly what is needed on a shopping trip.

"Don't carry other credit cards and carry just enough cash you'll need," she said.

If a cell phone is stolen from a purse, call police immediately since criminals are known to use the phone and records can be traced leading to a quicker arrest of the suspect.

Also discontinue phone service with the provider as soon as possible.

Law enforcement also recommends calling the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security Number.

The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

The three credit reporting organizations are; Equifax at 1-800-525-6285, Experian (formerly TRW) at 1-800-301-7195, and Trans Union at 1-800-680-7289.

The Social Security Administration has a fraud line at 1-800-269-0271.