Travelling internationally can be so rewarding. It can also be a bit nerve wracking. No matter how many precautions you take, the possibility of losing a wallet is always there. Of course, you never want to lose your wallet. You especially don’t want to lose your wallet while travelling internationally. That said, here are 5 steps to take if you lose your wallet abroad.
5 Steps to Take If You Lose Your Wallet Abroad
When you realize you’ve lost your wallet abroad, there are certain things you should do.
1. Making the Calls
The first thing you need to do, after losing your wallet, is call the credit card companies and the banks. You’ll need to do this for each card in the wallet. Even if you just lost your wallet, and no one stole it, you need to make the calls. There is not guarantee that the person who finds your wallet won’t use the cards inside.
You need to call the credit card company to cancel the card. If you’re just traveling for a week, your new card should be sent to your home. If you’re travelling for several months, it should be sent to wherever you are. The same thing goes for your bank, who’ll have to put a hold on your account to keep you safe. You will get another card, but you’ll have to wait a while. Most of the time, getting through to these entities is pretty easy. Most banks and credit card companies have dedicated lines that address this very problem.
They do this because they don’t want to lose any money by covering any expenses posted to your account. When travelling abroad, it’s best to limit the number of cards you have in your wallet. Select one or two to take, and leave the rest at home. Make a list of the cards you do carry and keep it in a secure place in your luggage. Be sure the list is just the names of the cards, without account numbers. That will keep it secure, and it will make it easier to make notifications later. If you didn’t make a list ahead of time, you’ll need to remember every single card that’s inside your wallet. You may need to enlist the help of someone who knows what you keep in your wallet.
2. Filing That Dreadful Report
The next thing you’ll have to do is talk to the police. Even if you don’t think your wallet was stolen, you should still file the report. The police can help you find your wallet or at least be on the lookout for it. Having the cops and the credit card or bank companies working together could help you find your wallet.
By limiting the cards you carry, the process of making a police report will be easier. Be sure to report any other valuable items you have tucked into your wallet, as well.
Using Google Translate on your phone can help with the language barrier, if needed. Many hotels also offer concierge translation. The police department may also have multi-lingual staff that can help. Creating this report could help you out later if you need to prove this happened to you for some reason.
3. Getting Some Emergency Cash
You’ve talked to the bank, credit card companies, and the cops, but now you have to worry about money. Even if you cut your trip short to return home, you’re going to need some cash.
With your wallet missing, the reality is your options are limited. Limited options does not mean you are without options totally. Perhaps you can call a friend or family member to see if he or she could lend you some money.
Getting the money they are able to loan you could be tricky. There are a few secure ways to send money internationally, like using a money transferring service. You’ll need to research the closest location to you. Make sure that location is able to offer cash, and not a cashier’s check, since you’re without your wallet.
4. Find a Way to Deal With Your Identity
Most people keep their ID in their wallet. When travelling abroad, it’s a good idea to keep a photocopy or digital scan of their identification easily accessible. Consider using a secure private Dropbox account to store copies of your passport and ID. If you’re a US Citizen, you can also sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) before leaving for a trip. STEP is a service of the Bureau of Consular Affairs by the US Department of State. It will make it easier to get help from the embassy while abroad.
If your wallet goes missing, you’ll need some form of ID. Being without an ID while travelling abroad is a bit of a pickle. You’ll need your identification papers like your passport or ID to return home. If you lose your ID you should immediately contact the closest U.S. embassy for assistance in replacing your passport.
You will find people in the Embassy that will be able to help you figure out your next steps. You will be interviewed and will need to be able to prove your identity. You may need to apply for a new passport and/or accept a conditional passport. You’ll likely spend an entire day at it, but at least you’ll get what you need when you’re done.
5. Set Up Some Kind of Fraud Alert
If you lose your wallet while travelling, setting up fraud alerts is extremely important. Even if your wallet is found, someone might have gotten your information. Hopefully, your bank and credit cards were cancelled and your ID was replaced. That said, it’s hard to tell what other information a potential criminal retrieved from your wallet. Even with your accounts cancelled and your ID replaced, it’s possible someone could steal your identity.
Once you return home, it’s best to set up some kind of fraud alerts. There are several companies that can monitor your name, your accounts, and all of your personal data for potential misuse. These alerts would help you to take action before permanent damage is done to your name. Take it from someone who has had their identity stolen… it’s not a mess you want to deal with!
Losing your wallet anywhere can induce panic. These 5 steps to take if you lose your wallet abroad will help you to stay safe. They will reduce the damage of your wallet falling into the wrong hands.