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What would happen if your wallet and your phone were stolen while you were traveling?

Imagine this: you’re traveling outside of your country and…

😮 Your bag is stolen. Your phone was in it and so was your wallet, so here you are in a foreign country without money or a phone.

You’ll have to report the stolen credit cards, but…

😮 What are the credit card numbers? Who do you call?

You make it back to your hotel. You can pay for extra nights at the hotel and can even book a flight home because your credit card is saved in Expedia. You’ll have to go to the embassy and report your lost passport.

You sit down at the computer in the hotel lobby, open Chrome and type in expedia.com, but…

😮 You can’t remember your Expedia password. It’s always saved in your phone and in your laptop back home.

You click on “forgot my password” and go to mail.google.com to retrieve it. You remember your email password somehow 🙏 but…

😮 You have two-factor authentication and you need your phone to get in.

How about calling your sister? She has an extra key to your apartment and she could find the expedia password on your computer. She could even give you the credit card number of an extra one you have in your desk…

😮 But what’s her phone number? You haven’t used the keypad to call her in years. You always just tap her name.

Traveling puts you in a vulnerable position. Maybe you don’t speak the local language. You don’t know anyone, you don’t know who to call or how to get a replacement credit card and, on top of this, you are upset and nervous.

This scenario is to get you to think ahead so you can prevent a bad situation. As cyber-security expert Khürt Williams says in the comments below, “The trick is to plan ONLY for what is LIKELY to happen. Planning for everything that MIGHT happen is impossible.”

👍 Make sure you know your email password.

👍 Know how to get into your email, even if you can’t use the two-factor authentication you set up. For gmail, you can refer to this: https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/185834?hl=en You’ll have to print these backup codes and leave them in your suitcase. Leave a copy with someone at home, too, in case your luggage is lost.

👍 Memorize a loved one’s phone number. Keep a written copy in your luggage.

👍 Give a copy of your credit card numbers, expiration dates and international call collect numbers to the person’s whose phone number you memorized.

👍 Bring a printed copy of your passport.

👍 Know which of your credit cards will wire you cash until your replacement card arrives.

👍 Keep your cards in different locations when you travel. Aixa and I each carry different cards in case one of us loses ours. We also keep one in the hotel safe.

👍 Sign up for text alerts for every purchase. Maybe you still have possession of your card but someone else is using it to make purchases.

👍 Download a copy of 1Password to keep all your digital info safely stored on your phone.

You’ve probably thought of at least some of these things. Look in Khürt Williams comments for great advice on creating strong passwords and follow his wonderful blog: islandinthenet.com

9 thoughts on “What would happen if your wallet and your phone were stolen while you were traveling? Leave a comment

  1. I’d probably kill myself.
    God, this is too depressing. I don’t know a single phone number. I’ve always been bad at memorizing digits and now with the phones, why bother, right?
    Anyway, good tips except maybe for one – Keep your credit card numbers, expiration dates and international call collect numbers in a saved email. NO, we’re being monitored all the time so we’d better learn at least this number by heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aixa, I’m a cyber-security consultant. I’ve been working in the field for over 13 years. @Bojana is correct. Never send/store financial account numbers — bank account numbers, PIN, credit card numbers etc. — online, and definitely not in email.

      Imagine if you were a Yahoo user who stored credit cards in your email.

      Every single Yahoo account was hacked – 3 billion in all: http://money.cnn.com/2017/10/03/technology/business/yahoo-breach-3-billion-accounts/index.html

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Khürt, but carrying those numbers around on a piece of paper doesn’t work, either. You’re very vulnerable when you’re traveling.

        These comments are wonderful. We’re learning more from you guys. What would be the best thing to do about two or three 16-digit card numbers?

        Like

      • I personally would not carry my credit cards when traveling long distance. But if I have to, I would use and app like 1Password on my phone to keep all the required passwords and account numbers. The 1Password is locked with a 12 character long passcode that I memorized. The 1Password app uses encryted storage.

        https://1password.com

        Here’s a link to some other password managers but I prefer and recommend 1Password.

        https://www.tomsguide.com/us/pictures-story/662-best-mobile-password-managers.html#s8

        I also travel with a small amount of emergency cash tucked away someone on my body (I like the inside of my socks near my ankle) but women can put that somewhere else (ahem).

        The trick is to plan ONLY for what is LIKELY to happen. Planning for everything that MIGHT happen is impossible.

        Assume your wallet is lost/stolen. You have the phone and the password manager app as a backup. Assume your phone AND wallet are lost/stolen. You have the emergency cash.

        Assume the worst, you are robbed, your wallet and phone and cash are gone. How would you plan for that? I tell my wife all the time, risk can not be eliminated. It can only be managed.

        So … the answer on what to do if you’ve lost both the wallet and the phone? Write down the account information and the password.

        Don’t write down “Bank of America account number is 12345, username is u53rn4m3, password is p455w0rd”.

        Write down 123555, u53rn4m3, p455w0rd — without any text identifying what the information is.

        Put that inside your sock (or that other place) along with your emergency cash.

        NOTE: Creating easy to remember but good passwords doesn’t have to be hard.

        For example, replace e with 3, a with 4, s with 5, l with 1, g with 9, and o with 0.

        Men at Work becomes M3n@W0rk.
        Travelling! becomes tr4v311in9!
        Aixa@Play becomes 4ix4@p14y

        Liked by 1 person

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