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What to Do When You’re Robbed on Vacation

Heather Godsey was 600 miles from home when her wallet was stolen in a restroom. Godsey, from Joliet, Illinois, usually travels with half her cash and one or two credit cards at her hotel—but not on this trip. “I broke my rule at the wrong time,” she says.

At least she had some rules. To prepare against an unimaginable hassle, you can take precautions before, during, and after your travels.

Want more travel tips? Check out these stories.
• 12 Sneaky, Slimy Travel Scams
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• 4 Ways to Make Calls from Overseas on a Dime

Before You Go

Plan on traveling light—on the finances. Keep just three or four things in your wallet: cash and traveler’s checks, a driver’s license, an American Express card and another credit card, says Ted Jenkin, co-CEO/founder of Georgia-based financial-services company oXYGen Financial.

Julie Sturgeon, owner of Indiana travel agency Curing Cold Feet, suggests photocopying your driver’s license, passport, and credit and debit cards, leaving a set of copies at home and tucking the other into your luggage lining. Some of Jenkin’s clients use a secure online safety deposit box, which lets consumers store digital versions of important documents in the cloud.

On the Road

No one anticipates getting robbed, so when it happens, emotions may take over. But the first thing Godsey did was to make herself remain calm. Sturgeon did the same during one bad experience. When she had $200 stolen while she was away, her first thought was: “As long as I’m not hurt, I’m ahead in this equation.” Then call the police immediately.

Official paperwork will get you flight clearance if you have a problem with a stolen ticket or passport, and a travel agent can alert the airlines, too. Then visit the hotel concierge, who can help contact creditors and get you cash (drawing against your account on file), Sturgeon says. Creditors can cancel your cards and send replacements overnight.

Notify your bank not to accept new checks, and get new debit cards issued. “This can be one of the largest headaches, but it’s a necessary step,” Jenkin says.

Then, for any automatic payments, call the company and change your online information. Get the major credit reporting bureaus to place a fraud alert on your report, Jenkin says, and call your housesitter and someone at work to warn them that a thief could attempt to gain access.

One more thing: Despite your impulses, avoid using e-mail or social media to communicate your misfortune. You can’t be sure who will see your messages, and what they’ll do with that information, Jenkin says. Plus, friends may not know it’s really you. Elizabeth Euley, who lives in Connecticut, learned that the hard way. When her Facebook account was hacked, thieves posed as her and contacted her friends via IM, requesting financial help. One of Euley’s contacts fell for the ruse and sent money.

Back at Home

Once you’ve returned, request an official credit report, confirm your account cancellations with your creditors, and replace things such as your house keys and health insurance cards, Jenkin says. With any luck, the theives won’t have made any purchases—and with even better luck, you’ll never encounter another similar situation while you’re away from home.

(source By Melissa Ezarik)

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About the author  ⁄ Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves

Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves

Hey!

My friends and family all think I’m a workaholic, but I say I’m just a guy that loves to help people do better in life.

My mother is still the only one that calls me by my real name Theodore Michael, my wife calls me Teddy, but for the rest of you it is just plain old Ted.

Ever since I was a little kid, I always loved money and being an entrepreneur. In fact, I still have cassette tapes of me talking to my grandmother at the age of five and my mother tells me all the time how much I played with money as a kid...

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Ted Jenkin is a frequent guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Headline News Weekend Express. He is the co-CEO of oXYGen Financial. You can follow him on LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/theceoadvisor or on Twitter @tedjenkin.

Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra Investment Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. This is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor regarding your individual situation. 

Background and qualification information is available at FINRA's BrokerCheck website.

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