What to Do When You’ve Been Scammed, Pickpocketed or Robbed While Abroad

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Image of a woman raising alarm after a thief in a bicycle snatches her bag

In 2016, Singapore reported a 30 year low crime rate. The crime rate dropped 2.6% in comparison to 2015 according to the Singapore Police Force as reported by Channel NewsAsia. However, crime still persists in our society. Singapore fell victim to 14,127 theft and related crimes, 62 snatch theft crimes and 93 robberies. But when it happens on our own turf, we know exactly how to tackle the issue and recover from it.

But what if it happens when we’re on foreign territory? You can tell yourself to be careful all you want, but you never get a notice before someone scams/pickpockets/robs you. And then you feel helpless and go on a “why did this happen to me” rant.

We can’t prevent bad things happening to you, but we can certainly help you figure out your next steps. Here’s what to do if you have been scammed/pickpocketed/robbed while traveling abroad:

Step 1. File a police report

Image of a police car on a quiet, cloudy road

The very first thing to do is to go to the nearest police station around where the incident occurred and file a report. Give the police all the information regarding the incident including the date and time and what you have lost. Even if there is a slightest chance that they may be able to recover your belongings, take that chance and help them in any way to get to the bottom of your case.

Filing a police report is not limited to just monetary loss. It also extends to scams like if you suspect that your credit card has been skimmed to larger scams such as your entire travel itinerary has been fraudulent. Even if you suspect a scam and are in contact with the party, immediately cease contact and alert the local law enforcement.

Being a victim of theft or scam in a foreign country can be taxing, but local authorities will always know how to handle the situation and offer a resolution.

Tip: Make sure to make copies of the police report because you will need it later.

Related: Top Scams to Watch out for When Travelling in Asia

Step 2. Call your credit card issuer(s)

Image of credit cards and money

In case your credit cards have been stolen, contact your credit card immediately issuer and let them know about the incident. Your credit card issuer will then cancel your cards to prevent them from being used. They will also reissue you with replacement of your credit cards.

What you need to understand here is that, if you report the crime immediately, you will be not be liable for any fraudulent transactions made on your card.

Tip: The American Express Platinum Credit Card offers Platinum Financial Benefits that include perks such as Fraud Protection, Travel Accident Insurance and American Global Assist that protects you and your card no matter which part of the globe you are in.

Related: 5 Best Credit Cards for Travel Insurance

Step 3. Call your travel insurance company

Travel insurers in Singapore offers cover for theft and/or robbery. The cover will include costs to replace your travel documents, petty cash and even jewellery and watches up to a certain limit. This limit will depend on the type of policy you have chosen.

Comprehensive travel insurance policies (which cost more) offer extensive cover for your loss. You might even be able to get extra cash from your insurer in case you have lost a lot of money depending on your cover. For instance, Aviva Travel Insurance offers up to S$500 for cash or bank notes.

In case you have been injured during the incident, your travel insurance will also cover overseas medical expenses.

To claim your travel insurance, you will have to call your insurer on their Emergency Assistance Hotline Number, report the incident and provide a copy of your police report. Without the police report, your claim will most likely be rejected.

Tip: Make sure the police report has been filed within 24 to 48 hours after the incident to make a valid travel insurance claim.

Related: 5 Reasons Why Not Getting Travel Insurance Could Really Ruin Your Vacation

Step 4. Contact Singapore Embassy or Consulate to report loss of Passport

Image of a generic passport with maps around

One of the worst things that can happen in case of theft, robbery or scam is losing your passport in another country. This is particularly inconvenient for the simple reason that you cannot leave the country and get back to Singapore without reapplying for a passport first.

What you need to do here is take a copy of your police report, a few passport size photographs and another proof of identity (such as your NRIC) and visit your nearest Singapore High Commission, Consulate or Embassy. An officer will assist you for the reissuance of your passport.

Tip: It is advisable to always make copies of your passport and NRIC while traveling overseas to make it easier to get your passport reissued. Also, keep your Passport and NRIC or other ID Proof documents separately so you don’t end up losing all identity documents.

Also read: Here Are 8 Amazing Destinations Your Singapore Passport Can Take You To

Step 5. Contact any family members and/or friends in the country of your visit

Being robbed or scammed is not just about money. The entire incident can be traumatic and you don’t have to get through it alone. Having your family members/friends around you can make a huge difference to help get you through such a difficult experience.

So, contact them, get some comfort food and spend a little time on your mental health because life is so much more than just material possessions. Never compromise your mental and emotional health.

There’s no way of predicting if or when an unfortunate incident will befall on you. But what you can certainly do is be prepared in case it does.

Also read: Don’t Pay in Singapore Dollars When Shopping Overseas

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