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ADVICE #226

What to do if your wallet or purse with cash and cards has been stolen in Europe?

So the quest for a visa has been done - tickets to Europe have been purchased. Hooray! We hope the material from Banks.eu, dedicated to all the details of this quite complicated process was helpful in this. But getting a visa, Schengen or national, single- or multi-entry, it is in every sense only the beginning of your journey, which can be full of other obstacles as well. What to do if your wallet or purse with cash and cards has been stolen in Europe? Imagine a situation - you are leisurely strolling in the quiet street of the picturesque European town and decide to go to the gift shop, where you choose the best magnet, then put your hand into your pocket or bag to pay, but then realize that you cannot find a purse or wallet! And there was not just the cash but all bank cards! Plus favourite picture and a gym membership card. For a moment, you not only turn gray, but also remember the last time you took the wallet, how much money and how many bank cards you had there, and suggest where you could lose it. And what if the purse was stolen? Right before your eyes in full daylight in a crowded street?! What to do if in a foreign country you are left without wallet or purse and credit cards? 1. Block your cards If you have lost your wallet or it has been stolen, before starting the hysteria (you will have a lot of time for that later), run to the nearest phone to immediately block the card. A piece of paper with emergency phone numbers was in your wallet? Not the most promising strategy. Then urgently find a cafe, restaurant, bar with Wi-Fi zone or internet cafe and look on the internet emergency phones of your bank. You can call a relative or a friend to find them for you. If you have previously left him details of your cards (except for the PIN code, of course), he would be able to quickly block them himself at your request. You can also block the cards via mobile and on-line banking, if you are connected. Mobile Banking allows blocking the account by one SMS, for on-line banking you will still have to find a free Wi-Fi zone. Remember that thieves often try to withdraw cash from the stolen cards in the first hour after the theft, so do not waste a single minute and try to quickly find a way to block them. Most banks give customers the key-fobs with phone numbers in case of theft of the card - be sure to use those gifts. Of course, you will have to forget about getting your cash back. However, it is worth remembering that not all banks can block the card, without blocking all the transactions on the account. For example, in Sberbank, blocking of the lost card means stopping all transactions on the account (at least, on your behalf, as incoming payments are accepted). And in Tinkoff Bank even after blocking the card you will be able to make payments (or transfer themoney) via mobile phone or Internet. So you need to finnd out about the card blocking terms in advance. Or at least, before immediately blocking the card - for example, during a conversation with an operator who will help you to transfer some funds to other account before blocking so you are not left without any money at all. 2. Unblock the cards if you find them Be careful - if you have lost the card, blocked it successfully, and then found it, it may be difficult to unblock. For example, in Sberbank, in most cases, this can be done in person only, by writing a corresponding application. However, this does not apply to auto-blocking when you have entered the wrong PIN code three times - such blocking usually lasts for no more than one day. By the way, if you have lost your card at home and have written an application for its blocking in a bank department, then you will not be able to unblock it for sure - just get a new one. Crucial is usually the reason that you specify when blocking your card. If the reason was a theft, in most banks it is not possible to unblock the card - for security reasons. The card that has been blocked due to loss, in rare cases, can still be unblocked, however, do not even dream to do it over the phone or via Internet. So it is easier to order a new one. 3. Call the police If you do not know the numbers of the local police, or you do not have a phone, or the battery is low, go to the nearest store, shop, bank, refer to the passer-by with a request to call the police. In tourist areas, local residents often speak English, so if you have been able to order a cocktail or dinner, then you will be able to ask for help. 4. You can have a little cry while waiting for the police Give yourself 20 minutes to comfort yourself to your heart's content, imagining life in a cardboard box under a bridge, and having someone's half-eaten hamburger for breakfast . Blame the universe for your bad luck, that allows you to be offended on the whole world, and especially those tourists who do not encounter similar problems and are azily sipping cocktails on the beach at the moment. If you have managed to quickly block the cards, then you are lucky and only have to think about where to get money for food and a ticket home. If you have failed to find the way to block the cards, your problems are doubled, as you may lose a decent amount of money, too. At the same time you still have to think of where to get the food and how to pay for the hotel . But remember - you have no more than 20 minutes for hysteria. Then take a deep breath, wash your face and start to think what to do next. 5. Make a report in the police department Accept the fact that your wallet will never be found. Tell the police in detail what has happened, as well as how much cash and haw many bank cards have been stolen. Be sure to pick up your copy of the report - with this sheet of paper you may seek for help at the embassy or consulate office. You will be told their addresses and telephone numbers by the police. If your documents have been stolen along with the wallet, it is the embassy where you can get temporary documents and buy a ticket home. If you are robbed at the hotel, you must also call the police. If you have handed over the money and documents for storage in the safe, It is the hotel's responsibility for the loss. 6. Seek help from relatives and diplomats Once you have blocked your credit cards, and made everything out with the police, you need to ask for help from family and friends. If they are traveling with you, you are lucky - you can borrow money from them. If you rest alone, friends can send you the money in different ways, but most often to get them you will need a passport or an international driving license. If the documents are stolen along with the wallet, you will have to contact the embassy or consulate office - they will be able to prove your identity by means of copies of documents sent from home (if you do not have copies with you). After proving your identity you will be given a document, temporarily replacing the passport (valid for 15 days). It should be presented at the passport control , if you have problems at the passport control, do not hesitate to call the consulate office. 7. Think about how ridiculous this story will appear in a few weeks Having no money in a foreign country is not only unpleasant, but also fun to some extent. Believe me, all the horror and stress that you experience right after the theft can turn into a quite funny story, which you will tell your friends. Or, at least, it will teach you some important things in preparation for the trip, which we will describe in the next section. Things to remember when preparing to a trip First of all, you need to make copies of the documents - take a picture (or even better - scan) the passport and visa and upload them to e-mail or a file sharing service. You can also make copies of the tickets. Many banks, including, for example, Sberbank, offer their customers an additional card to your account. What does this service involve? The fact that the master card can be kept at home (or in the hotel safe) and used only for big purchases, while you can take the additional one with you. For additional card, you can set a payment limit - a specific amount per day, week or month. This will help you not only save on unplanned spending, but will play in your favour in case of the possible theft of cards - thieves will not be able to exceed the daily limit, and you will have the time to block the cards. Before your departure, take all the cards that you are not going to use from the purse. It is advisable not to use for the travel the usual salary card or the card, which contains all of your savings. Never keep all the money in one place during your - it is better to put it in different pockets (but not of the same bag) or to distribute it to all participants of the trip. Do not keep a mobile phone in one place with the money (and do not write the PIN code of your card there!). If you do have access to on-line banking services, it is better to get it, because it allows you to quickly block the card, without calling the bank, which sometimes takes a long time. Find out if the country, to which you are going, has the branch of your bank and check where the nearest embassy or consulate office of Russia is located. It is also useful to leave the contact details of the embassy, consulate office, as well as phone numbers of your bank and card details on the email or file sharing service. Such preparation for the trip will take you no more than 15 minutes, but will rather make your life easier in case of theft. Have a good trip!

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