No matter how well planned your vacation is, losing your wallet can throw your trip completely off course. There is no horror greater than a lost or stolen purse, especially when the wallet contains vital identification such as you credit cards, ID cards or even passport. When this happens, you are not only left stranded with empty pockets but also burdened with the travail of making the most of the situation.
Fortunately, this problem can be fixed. There are several ways of guaranteeing that your cash-strapped state does not last for too long or cause any difficulties that may affect your future such as identity theft or bank fraud. Jovago.com, Africa’s No. 1 online hotel booking site suggests 7 ways to survive a stolen wallet on a trip.
Cancel all your cards
The moment you realize your wallet is missing and you are certain your ATM cards were placed in it, the first and most important step to take is to call your bank and ask them to cancel your cards. This automatically denies anyone access to your account via the cards and also puts an alert on them, that way, the bank is notified of any activity post theft or loss. It is important to cancel as soon as possible as most banks do not have any sort of cover or compensation for customers who lose money to thieves who somehow access their cards before the bank is notified of the theft or alerted to cancel the cards.
Report to relevant authorities
This is important if you have such personal identification cards in the wallet as Tax and ID cards or even your international passport. Ensure you get the contact of the relevant offices and alert them on your missing card. Most often, identity thieves use the information on these credentials to commit fraud or even severe crimes that can be very damaging to the original owner of the identification. Having a report filed usually exonerates the victim in such cases.
File a police report
Aside from reporting to relevant authorities, it is important to file a police report. The police report records the essential details pertaining to the theft, including information on all the credentials as well as the amount of cash lost. It serves as an important reference in case of future occurrences.
Find immediate replacements
Depending on the bank you use or the credit card company you patronize, there is a chance that you can have a new ATM or credit card minted within 24 hours of request. You might have setbacks if you are in a foreign location where your bank or service company is not available, however, some banks or companies offer the option of express mail upon request. With regards to ID cards, you can easily go to a business center and have it done as quickly as possible, that way you are not stopped randomly at places where your identification may be required.
Withdraw over the counter
With the introduction of online banking and other money transfer programs, a lot of people now disregard the option of withdrawing over the counter. In the case where you are left with empty pockets, courtesy of a lost wallet, the next best option is to walk the nearest branch of your bank and withdraw from your account over the counter. While some banks in Nigeria and around the world, have charges for over-the-counter withdrawals, especially when the amount is of a low range, losing a few bucks is nothing compared to the stress of wandering around cash strapped or stranded.
Transfer money to a friend’s account
Transferring money to a friend’s account usually works if you are travelling with a companion or you know someone in the area who is willing to help you out. You can call home, whether it is in Ilorin or Kebbi and ask your friends or family members to pay in or transfer a certain amount of money to the companion or friend’s account, that way the friend can receive the money on your behalf and issue it to you once he gets the chance to withdraw it.
Pawn your valuables
Pawning a valuable should be a last resort. You can sell off valuables such as wrist watches, expensive jewelry or other objects that you are sure can fetch you enough money to last till you sort out the situation. Most people who pawn valuables are people who are stranded in a location where they know no one and they have no clue how to help themselves. The good thing about pawning valuables is that you can always come back and redeem them, especially if it is a family heirloom or object of sentimental value.