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