The thought of having your wallet stolen abroad gives most travelers nightmares. It’s difficult to get around when you don’t have access to money or identification, especially in an unfamiliar country. There’s no reason to panic, though. If you keep a level head and take the right steps, you can get back on your feet in no time. Here’s a list of simple steps to follow as soon as you’ve lost your wallet or had it stolen.
Cancel any debit or credit cards
If your wallet is lost or stolen, you’ll may become the victim of identity theft in the very near future. To avoid further headaches before they happen, call your bank and cancel all of the credit or debit cards that were in your wallet. The earlier you report it, the less likely you are to be liable for any chargers an identity thief can rack up. It also lets your bank know that you need new cards, which means you can get access to your credit and checking accounts sooner.
Visit the local embassy office or consulate
If you’re from the US and feeling lost and confused without your wallet in a foreign country, the local branch of the U.S. embassy or consulate can help you start to sort things out. They’ll help you contact loved ones back home, walk you through filing a police report if you’re unfamiliar with the local language and customs, and provide the temporary travel documents that you may need to make it back home.
File a police report
If your wallet was stolen, it’s important to alert the proper authorities by filing a police report. Filing a report doesn’t guarantee that your wallet will be recovered, but the official documentation this process creates is essential for making insurance claims and recovering lost forms of identification. Plus, it provides the police with a way to get in touch with you if your wallet does turn up after you’ve left town.
Ask a friend or relative to send cash
Without your wallet, it’s hard to get a hold of cash as you usually would. Luckily, Western Union provides fast ways to send money. The Money in Minutes* or Next Day Money* Transfer services can help you receive cash from a friend or loved one as soon as you need it. You can pick up your cash at one of more than 500,000 Western Union agent locations worldwide or set up a mobile wallet to receive funds straight to your smartphone. Try to secure slightly more than you need to safeguard against potential future emergencies.
Protect yourself for the future
Learning the hard way how painful it is to lose your wallet or have it stolen will surely inspire you to take greater steps to protect your identity and secure your belongings in the future. On your next trip, make sure you take scans or photocopies of important documents like your passport or driver’s license so you can prove your identity in a pinch. There are also plenty of identity theft protection services that can ensure you’re protected from fraud both off and online, in case you find yourself without a wallet in the future.
Of course, the best thing you can do is be vigilant and careful with your wallet while travelling. Read our tips on how to and take a look at our other tips and ideas for traveling abroad to make the most of your trip.