When travelling abroad, try to minimise the inconvenience that might be caused by a robbery: leave a copy of your passport information in an online vault so you can access it easily, only take with you what you need for that day, leaving some cash, at least one bank card, your passport and any valuables that you do not need with you in the hotel safe, if there is one that you can rely on. But sometimes, it does happen that an enterprising criminal manages to navigate through your defences and makes away with your property: If you are unfortunate enough to experience this, here is what you should do:
If you are going to your embassy for help, your travel insurer to put in a claim, or even to your travel agent (If it is an all-inclusive package holiday), you will need a police report or incident number with which to verify your version of events. It is best to do this as soon as possible, as the police may be able to catch the thief quickly enough to return your property before they have a change to sell it on – This outcome, unfortunately, is highly unlikely.
Making the report is relatively simple in most countries: see if you can find an online system to log your complaint, or simply call into a police station and say ‘I would like to report a robbery’ – the desk officer will take it from there.
Go to the Embassy
If there is an embassy in the city, be sure to phone up or call in to report the theft there, as well as filling in a police report. In fact, if you have language or cultural issues with making a police report, the embassy can help, finding you a chaperone or translator who understands the legal system and can guide you through the whole process safely.
Cancel Cards and Cheques
As soon as you are able, and having made sure which cards or traveller’s cheques have been stolen, report them to the issuer. Doing this as soon as you can ensures that you will not be deemed responsible for any unwanted usage on the card and even if thief manages to spend a large sum on the cards, you will not lose out on that money. Travellers’ cheques can be cancelled, again, so you will not lose out – but you must be very prompt with getting in touch: every minute the thief has your cards or cheques is a minute when they can be spending like there is no tomorrow, and a big delay between the theft and you reporting it can leave you liable for some of that expense
Cancelling couldn’t be easier: if you have the bank’s app on your phone or links on your laptop, use those to access assistance. Otherwise, you will easily find a phone number that you can use to report the theft. If you can, have account numbers and card details saved, so you can be clear about which card has been stolen. While you may be shaken up and upset, stopping stolen cards is a simple matter for your bank, and they will be able to get it done quickly on your behalf.
Get in Contact with your Travel Insurance Provider
As long as you bought a decent policy, your travel insurance should cover you while you apply for a new passport (usually at a cost of about £100) to get you safely home from abroad, or allow you to complete your holiday if you are going on to another destination. It should also cover hotel bills, subsistence and a number of other benefits (transport, repatriation, medical care) if they are necessary. When buying your insurance, make sure to check that you are covered in the event of something unexpected happening before paying your premiums.
These are the four most important steps to take in the event of being robbed while abroad. While disheartening and upsetting, money is just a possession, and it can be replaced – and thanks to modern technology, insurance and policing, you will hopefully not be out of pocket by a substantial amount. Check out our other blog post for precautionary measures you can take to protect against thieves.