Losing your wallet or purse is always an upsetting experience because of the loss of your money, identity documents, and debit and credit cards. But when you’re out of the country for business or pleasure, it can be even more nerve-wracking.
When your money is lost or stolen, it’s difficult to think clearly about what options you have to get money quickly. You’re also not sure what else you will need to do in this situation. But if you start taking constructive action as soon as you’re aware of your dilemma, then your level of stress will drop and your risk of things getting worse for you will go way down.
Should this unfortunate incident happen to you, here are some constructive steps you can take to sort things out:
1. Get some money sent to you: When you’ve lost all your money when traveling in a foreign country, it can be difficult to think straight. How will you pay for your next meal? How will you pay for your hotel accommodations? How will you even pay for a taxi to take you out to the airport? The best way to get immediate relief from this storm of anxious thoughts is to ask someone back home–immediate family, relatives, friends, or work colleagues–to send money online. Your money will be sent quickly. If you happen to have a bank account in that country because of your business, it could be sent directly there. It could also may be made available for cash pickup at a location near you. And you could even have it delivered to you directly through a delivery service. When you have enough money to take care of your pressing needs, you will feel immediate relief and finally be in a position to think more constructively about your situation.
2. Cancel debit or credit cards: Call your bank to cancel your debit cards and your credit card company to cancel your credit cards. The quicker you can report your loss, the better. You will then not be held liable for any charges made by anyone using your debit or credit cards to make a purchase. Your bank will also take immediate steps to issue you a new debits card.
3. Report your loss to the nearest police station: If your wallet was not stolen, but simply misplaced or lost, you may be reluctant to file a police report. Still, this step is necessary. It will establish a paper trail. Your bank and your credit card company will need a copy. It will also help you when you file your travel insurance claims. Also, you never know–someone may find your wallet and turn it into the police station. If besides losing your money, you also lost your identity papers, then reporting to the police station will help you in two additional ways; first, if your wallet or purse had your identity papers, someone might be using your identity illegally; and second, your police report will help you verify your identity when you’re at the airport.
4. Visit a US embassy or consulate: The best place you can go for immediate help is a US embassy or consulate. They will help you in whatever way they can. For instance, they will help you get in touch with emergency contacts, help you if you could not file a police report because of language barriers, and help you get temporary travel documents.
Although you will probably freak out after you lose your wallet or purse in a foreign county, you should take these four steps as soon as possible, working quickly from one step to the next, getting them done on the same day that you discover your loss. There is no time to try to figure out whether your money was misplaced, lost, or stolen. Nor is there time to get over your shock and upset. The sooner you take these steps, the easier it will be to resolve your dilemma and the less damage due to possible identity theft.
Learn From Your Experience
In the future, the next time you are planning a trip, be sure to scan all your important documents and carry photocopies of your passport and driver’s license. Also, use an identity theft protection service.