Ladies. Secure your purses at work.

Most women carry a purse which contains a wallet, makeup, contact lens supplies, “feminine products” and sometimes other myriad life supplies.  When they go to work, most simply find a discrete place to tuck it away since it’s too awkward to carry it around with them everywhere.

If you are one of these women, even if you work in a private company with controlled access and you implicitly trust your coworkers, you should consider taking extra steps to secure the most sensitive contents of your purse.  Your hiding place might not be quite as secure as you think.

Several years ago, a friend who used to store her purse in a desk in a back office of a private university department with limited access had her wallet stolen from her purse.  It happened at a time of day when people were in meetings and few were in the common areas to notice unauthorized visitors.

A couple of people went through the entire department, quickly going into offices and taking wallets and other items.  Despite being several doors removed from the common areas, the thieves knew where to look.  It’s suspected that someone in the cleaning crew tipped them off to the locations of all the goodies.  But that was never proven.

If you have a lockable desk drawer put the purse in it and lock it.  If you have access to a storage locker that’s reasonably close to where you work, go out of your way to use it.

If you have a lockable office, lock your door whenever you leave the office.  Consider asking your facilities people to put a door closer on the door and a lockset that defaults to locked and then carry the key on your person at all times (I’ve seen this a lot in offices located off of common areas such as those of a sales manager in a hotel or health club or a supervisor in the reception area of a hospital).

If you don’t have access to lockable storage consider placing your non-financial essentials in a toiletry/dopp kit bag and only carrying that in to the office, leaving your wallet secured elsewhere.  If you need access to your photo id or a credit card or a little cash while in the office, try carrying just those in your person in a pocket.  Use common about this sense, however.  If your parking facilities regularly have cars being broken into, obviously favor keeping your purse with you at work over hiding it in your locked car (and consider parking somewhere else).

The key thing is not to rely solely on obscurity to protect the assets in your purse.  I’ve seen the effort  it takes to clear up the fraud after a wallet theft.  A little daily inconvenience of securing a purse is worth the effort.

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