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... Women's love of fashion leaves them open to ID the Women's love of fashion leaves them open to ID the

11 July 2008

Women just can't live without their handbags and, for many, their whole lives are contained therein.

But new research reveals the dangers of storing too much in your Prada purse or Chloe handbag.

A survey by insurers Sheilas' Wheels found that nearly two thirds of women in a survey said their bags had at least one item that could be used for identity theft should the bag be snatched or lost.

Items included a diary with personal details, cheque books, utility bills and proof of identity documents.

The average total cost of a lost handbag is around 290, the survey reveals. It is also estimated that identity theft has now topped 1.7 billion in the UK each year, making it a bad time to lose your handbag.

Jacky Brown at Sheilas' Wheels home insurance, commented: "Losing a bag and its contents not only creates the obvious problem of loss of cash and credit cards, but can lead to identity theft.

"With the size of fashionable handbags on the up, it's crucial to only carry around the bare essentials and declutter regularly. Ridding bags of items such as old utility bills, post and cheque books could reduce the risk of having your identity stolen if your handbag is snatched."