Taylor-ACHotel-Bridgewater

What to do if your phone gets lost or stolen abroad.

After traveling to nearly 50 countries and 35 U.S. states, I was robbed for the first time abroad. Getting any personal item stolen from you is a horrible feeling. When your cell phone is taken from you, something you rely on for almost everything in life, it feels violating! Well, my cell phone was stolen abroad during my time in Colombia and I want to share what I learned through it all.

Before I dive deep into this guide, I want to say that anything can happen anywhere! Even though the media covers a lot of bad things that go on in specific destinations, there are always safe areas to stick around in along with neighborhoods you shouldn’t venture to during your travels.

If you plan to solo travel (especially as a female), extra precautions should be taken based on what type of trip you’re doing and where you are looking to visit. Discover how to master the art of flying solo and the top solo female travel destinations around the world.

What to do if your phone gets stolen in the United States.

Some general safety tips you should always consider when you travel are to never put yourself in sketchy situations; watch your alcohol intake; DON’T DO DRUGS EVER; do your research and book a hotel/Airbnb/hostel in a safe area (I like to stay in accommodations close to the heart of a city or popular attractions); negotiate the price of a cab before you hop in (I recommend using services like Uber, Lyft, Curb or Bolt when getting around); learn how to say NO; don’t walk around by yourself late at night; share your itinerary and accommodations with loved ones back home and don’t be afraid to ask a staff member from your hotel to assist you somewhere.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like. 


Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

What to do if your phone gets stolen abroad.

How My Phone Got Stolen:

The back story of how my phone got stolen was that I was traveling in Cartagena, Colombia with fellow travel blogger Caitlin of My Darling Passport. We both were walking on a sidewalk on the Avenida Santander on Bocagrande from our hotel to the entrance of the walled city. I was using my phone as a map, but had it to my side at the time. I also was wearing a maxi dress, which I was also holding onto because I was afraid of tripping. (I’m only 5’3”!)

As Caitlin and I were walking on the sidewalk, someone on a motorbike snatched my phone out of my hand suddenly. It happened so fast! We both ran back to our hotel where they called the police for us. Thankfully, authorities showed up right away and helped us file a report.

What to do if your phone gets stolen abroad in Colombia. A woman in Cartagena.

Unfortunately, robberies are common in Latin America, so you always need to be aware of your surroundings and try not to show off your valuables. During the day my phone got stolen abroad, I was wearing a bright pink and orange maxi dress (pictured above), which already made me stand out. The police informed us that getting your phone snatched out of your hand while using it in public is quite common in Colombia and that it’s the same group of people who commit these crimes repeatedly.

After filing the report, we exchanged contact information with the police who promised to keep us updated. The Colombian police were very kind and accommodating to me. They also looked at local businesses’ cameras to see if they caught footage of the person who snatched my phone from me. (The police were able to see footage from our hotel, but unfortunately, the market down the road had a damaged camera. The market’s camera footage was the key to finding out who the thief was!)

The police told us that they usually catch robbers whether it be the same day that the crime happened or a few days later. Unfortunately, authorities did not find my stolen phone before I had left the country.

Although a situation like this can happen anywhere from New York City to London and Marrakech to Ho Chi Minh, I’m grateful nothing bad happened to Caitlin and me. A cellphone is replaceable and you’re not, so it is best to not fight thieves off.

I’m not sharing this to scare anyone or turn travelers off to certain destinations or areas of the world, but I want to remind all my readers to always be mindful when exploring the planet. Even though I showcase the beauty and culture of destinations around the world, it is also my responsibility to share the not-so-glamorized moments too.

Two women exploring Cartagena, Colombia.

I was grateful that my phone was stolen abroad when I was with a friend. If I had gotten my phone robbed from me during my solo travels, I honestly would’ve flown home much sooner. Even though, you can still get around without a phone, it is more difficult, especially when dealing with a language barrier.

In fact, I was originally supposed to stay in Cartagena a little longer than Caitlin, but ended up leaving the same day as her. This isn’t because I didn’t enjoy my time in Cartagena, it is only because I didn’t feel safe without a phone.

Things to do if Your Cell Phone is Stolen Abroad:

What to do if your phone gets lost abroad. A woman in Portugal.

In today’s world, our phones are our lifeline. We use our mobile devices to keep in touch with loved ones; we use it for navigation; we use it for work; we use it to make important phone calls; we use it to take photographs and videos; we use it to manage our finances and we use it for other important stuff as well as to store personal information. When we don’t have our cell phones on us, we are lost!

The phone I had stolen from me was an iPhone 12 Pro. My current mobile carrier is AT&T and I, thankfully, had gotten their insurance a year prior to this incident just because of how much I travel and the risks that come with either getting my phone stolen, lost or damaged on a trip.

If you experience some bad luck with either getting your phone stolen abroad or simply losing it, there are important tips you must follow to protect everything you have on your mobile device.

My Phone Got Stolen Abroad – Here are the Steps to Take:

A woman on her cell phone.

How to Protect Yourself if Your Phone Gets Stolen Abroad:

First off, if you are reading this and you’ve never had your phone stolen abroad or have lost it, make sure that you have a passcode and/or Face ID to get into your phone, iCloud, banking apps etc. (I’m speaking on behalf of an Apple iPhone user, but the same gist goes for Android users as well.)

Even though it’s annoying, it is important to have two-factor authentication for everything! If you’re phone gets stolen abroad or locally, you don’t want anyone being able to access your email, social media apps, financial information and other important resources you store on your phone.

Two-factor authentication is an added layer of security by requiring an additional login credential, beyond a username/email and password. Usually, two-factor authentication can be linked to your email or phone number. When you have two-factor authentication set up and a specific app or platform suspects something unusual, you’ll be sent a code (via text message or email) that you will need to input for you to access a specific account.

A woman on her tablet.

In addition, it is best to always have printouts of your documents, such as plane tickets, reservations, health forms, etc. just in case your phone gets stolen abroad. I also recommend traveling with another smart device so that you can connect to the Internet and get in touch with family back home. (During my Colombia trip, I was grateful I had my laptop with me, which I always keep locked up in my hotel room. I also traveled with a tablet too!)

Lastly, I suggest always making sure that your iCloud is always backed up. iCloud usually backs up on WiFi, but now you have the option to back it up on cellular data. (Please note that this may cause you to exceed your cellular data plan.)

Report that Your Phone was Stolen Abroad:

What to do if you phone gets stolen abroad in South Africa.

One of the first and most important things you must do once your phone gets stolen or lost is to report it to both the police as well as your cell phone provider. When you go to the police, make sure to file a report! Thankfully, I didn’t have to show my police report to anyone, but sometimes mobile carriers will ask for it.

Thankfully, I had insurance through AT&T and was able to have a new phone shipped to my home ASAP, but if you don’t have any coverage through your mobile device carrier, then it is best to get a police report as proof that your phone was stolen by someone.

(In addition to having insurance through your cell phone carrier, I recommend purchasing traveler’s insurance before you embark on a new trip. I use both World Nomads and Safety Wing. Both insurance companies will help protect you during unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage, theft, natural disasters, personal liability, health scares and more.)

If your phone was stolen, lost or damaged and you don’t have insurance, I would inquire about the options you have with your mobile provider.

What to do if your phone gets stolen abroad in Southeast Asia. A woman wandering through a market in Cambodia.

When you report your phone stolen to AT&T, they will first tell you to try and find your phone through the Find My app. This app can locate lost or stolen phones, MacBook’s, iPads, Apple Watches and AirPods. Apparently, you can still find your lost or stolen device without the phone being on, but unfortunately, I couldn’t.

Another possible way you can try and locate your stolen phone abroad is by sharing your IMEI number with your wireless provider. IMEI means International Mobile Equipment Identity number. Even though it isn’t as effective as using Apple’s Find My iPhone, your provider can add your phone to the grey list of the IMEI database, which allows them to possibly track the device.

If you are able to locate your cell phone after it was stolen abroad, it is best that you let the local police know. If you try to find it yourself, it can put you in big danger. A lot of the times, robbers will try to ransom you to get your belongings back.

AT&T Phone Stolen and Can’t Be Found – Now What?

What to do if your phone gets stolen abroad in Europe. A woman experiencing a snowfall in Salzburg, Austria.

If you cannot locate your phone right away, it is best that your cell phone carrier, whether it be AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, etc. suspend your service (so your SIM card cannot be used) and blocks your phone number so that the robber cannot use it at all on your network. Pretty much, your carrier will cancel your stolen phone once you let them know.

Please note that when you eventually receive your new cell phone, your carrier must unblock your number and get your service back up and running. When I got my new device after I arrived home from Colombia, I was trying to figure out why my cellular data wasn’t working. You must call them right away.

Change Your Passwords:

What to do if your phone gets stolen abroad? Change your passwords. A woman on her computer.

If your phone is stolen abroad, it is best to change your passwords right away! The first thing I did was change my iCloud password. Because my iCloud holds all my information for both my cell phone and MacBook Pro, that was the number one thing I took care of off the bat.

Even if you have a passcode on your phone with FaceID, some of these robbers are smart enough to still be able to get into your phone and access your important apps and accounts. If you change your iCloud password, they will not be able to get into your information.

After changing my iCloud password, I also changed my passwords for Venmo, all my banking apps, my email and also my social media accounts.

The only issue I ran into was two-factor authentication. When changing my passwords for my social media apps, they sent a code to my phone number. Since I didn’t have access to my cell phone, I had to get the verification through email. For two-factor authentication, make sure you have more than one method set up to become verified!

Don’t Panic:

A woman wandering around London's Notting Hill area

As someone who suffers from anxiety, I was surprised by how well I took this situation! If you face an unlucky incident, where your phone, wallet, camera or other valuables get stolen while you’re abroad, it is best to stay calm, get in touch with loved ones back at home right away and leave it in the hands of the authorities.

I find that when I panic, I can’t focus on what I need to do to help my situation. I know it is easier said than done, but practicing breathing methods helps me to chill out during stressful times.

Also remember, nothing is worth your life! If someone comes up to you and wants your belongings, just hand it to them. They are more likely interested in your valuables, such as a phone, camera, wallet, jewelry, etc., than you.

Even though having your phone stolen abroad (or anywhere for that matter) is a bummer, it is a great learning experience. It taught me to always be aware of my surroundings; to be more conscious when using it out in public; to always have everything backed up; to print out important documents when traveling and it also proved that two-factor authentication is important for everything.


What to do if your phone gets stolen abroad in Bali

I hope you all found this article to be helpful if you’re traveling abroad. If you have any questions, please email me at [email protected]

*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

Below are the top travel companies I use for convenience and cost:

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2 Comments

  1. Patrick on May 12, 2022 at 10:05 am

    Terrible that you got your phone stolen! Glad to see how proactive you were when it happened. Sad to say, but before reading this, my first move probably wouldn’t have been to change all of my passwords like you did. Now I know better!

    • Taylor Deer on May 19, 2022 at 3:10 pm

      Thank you Patrick! It was an unfortunate event, but like I said, things could’ve been worse. 🙂

Leave a Comment





Taylor-ACHotel-Bridgewater

What to do if your phone gets lost or stolen abroad.

After traveling to nearly 50 countries and 35 U.S. states, I was robbed for the first time abroad. Getting any personal item stolen from you is a horrible feeling. When your cell phone is taken from you, something you rely on for almost everything in life, it feels violating! Well, my cell phone was stolen abroad during my time in Colombia and I want to share what I learned through it all.

Before I dive deep into this guide, I want to say that anything can happen anywhere! Even though the media covers a lot of bad things that go on in specific destinations, there are always safe areas to stick around in along with neighborhoods you shouldn’t venture to during your travels.

If you plan to solo travel (especially as a female), extra precautions should be taken based on what type of trip you’re doing and where you are looking to visit. Discover how to master the art of flying solo and the top solo female travel destinations around the world.

What to do if your phone gets stolen in the United States.

Some general safety tips you should always consider when you travel are to never put yourself in sketchy situations; watch your alcohol intake; DON’T DO DRUGS EVER; do your research and book a hotel/Airbnb/hostel in a safe area (I like to stay in accommodations close to the heart of a city or popular attractions); negotiate the price of a cab before you hop in (I recommend using services like Uber, Lyft, Curb or Bolt when getting around); learn how to say NO; don’t walk around by yourself late at night; share your itinerary and accommodations with loved ones back home and don’t be afraid to ask a staff member from your hotel to assist you somewhere.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like. 


Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

What to do if your phone gets stolen abroad.

How My Phone Got Stolen:

The back story of how my phone got stolen was that I was traveling in Cartagena, Colombia with fellow travel blogger Caitlin of My Darling Passport. We both were walking on a sidewalk on the Avenida Santander on Bocagrande from our hotel to the entrance of the walled city. I was using my phone as a map, but had it to my side at the time. I also was wearing a maxi dress, which I was also holding onto because I was afraid of tripping. (I’m only 5’3”!)

As Caitlin and I were walking on the sidewalk, someone on a motorbike snatched my phone out of my hand suddenly. It happened so fast! We both ran back to our hotel where they called the police for us. Thankfully, authorities showed up right away and helped us file a report.

What to do if your phone gets stolen abroad in Colombia. A woman in Cartagena.

Unfortunately, robberies are common in Latin America, so you always need to be aware of your surroundings and try not to show off your valuables. During the day my phone got stolen abroad, I was wearing a bright pink and orange maxi dress (pictured above), which already made me stand out. The police informed us that getting your phone snatched out of your hand while using it in public is quite common in Colombia and that it’s the same group of people who commit these crimes repeatedly.

After filing the report, we exchanged contact information with the police who promised to keep us updated. The Colombian police were very kind and accommodating to me. They also looked at local businesses’ cameras to see if they caught footage of the person who snatched my phone from me. (The police were able to see footage from our hotel, but unfortunately, the market down the road had a damaged camera. The market’s camera footage was the key to finding out who the thief was!)

The police told us that they usually catch robbers whether it be the same day that the crime happened or a few days later. Unfortunately, authorities did not find my stolen phone before I had left the country.

Although a situation like this can happen anywhere from New York City to London and Marrakech to Ho Chi Minh, I’m grateful nothing bad happened to Caitlin and me. A cellphone is replaceable and you’re not, so it is best to not fight thieves off.

I’m not sharing this to scare anyone or turn travelers off to certain destinations or areas of the world, but I want to remind all my readers to always be mindful when exploring the planet. Even though I showcase the beauty and culture of destinations around the world, it is also my responsibility to share the not-so-glamorized moments too.

Two women exploring Cartagena, Colombia.

I was grateful that my phone was stolen abroad when I was with a friend. If I had gotten my phone robbed from me during my solo travels, I honestly would’ve flown home much sooner. Even though, you can still get around without a phone, it is more difficult, especially when dealing with a language barrier.

In fact, I was originally supposed to stay in Cartagena a little longer than Caitlin, but ended up leaving the same day as her. This isn’t because I didn’t enjoy my time in Cartagena, it is only because I didn’t feel safe without a phone.

Things to do if Your Cell Phone is Stolen Abroad:

What to do if your phone gets lost abroad. A woman in Portugal.

In today’s world, our phones are our lifeline. We use our mobile devices to keep in touch with loved ones; we use it for navigation; we use it for work; we use it to make important phone calls; we use it to take photographs and videos; we use it to manage our finances and we use it for other important stuff as well as to store personal information. When we don’t have our cell phones on us, we are lost!

The phone I had stolen from me was an iPhone 12 Pro. My current mobile carrier is AT&T and I, thankfully, had gotten their insurance a year prior to this incident just because of how much I travel and the risks that come with either getting my phone stolen, lost or damaged on a trip.

If you experience some bad luck with either getting your phone stolen abroad or simply losing it, there are important tips you must follow to protect everything you have on your mobile device.

My Phone Got Stolen Abroad – Here are the Steps to Take:

A woman on her cell phone.

How to Protect Yourself if Your Phone Gets Stolen Abroad:

First off, if you are reading this and you’ve never had your phone stolen abroad or have lost it, make sure that you have a passcode and/or Face ID to get into your phone, iCloud, banking apps etc. (I’m speaking on behalf of an Apple iPhone user, but the same gist goes for Android users as well.)

Even though it’s annoying, it is important to have two-factor authentication for everything! If you’re phone gets stolen abroad or locally, you don’t want anyone being able to access your email, social media apps, financial information and other important resources you store on your phone.

Two-factor authentication is an added layer of security by requiring an additional login credential, beyond a username/email and password. Usually, two-factor authentication can be linked to your email or phone number. When you have two-factor authentication set up and a specific app or platform suspects something unusual, you’ll be sent a code (via text message or email) that you will need to input for you to access a specific account.

A woman on her tablet.

In addition, it is best to always have printouts of your documents, such as plane tickets, reservations, health forms, etc. just in case your phone gets stolen abroad. I also recommend traveling with another smart device so that you can connect to the Internet and get in touch with family back home. (During my Colombia trip, I was grateful I had my laptop with me, which I always keep locked up in my hotel room. I also traveled with a tablet too!)

Lastly, I suggest always making sure that your iCloud is always backed up. iCloud usually backs up on WiFi, but now you have the option to back it up on cellular data. (Please note that this may cause you to exceed your cellular data plan.)

Report that Your Phone was Stolen Abroad:

What to do if you phone gets stolen abroad in South Africa.

One of the first and most important things you must do once your phone gets stolen or lost is to report it to both the police as well as your cell phone provider. When you go to the police, make sure to file a report! Thankfully, I didn’t have to show my police report to anyone, but sometimes mobile carriers will ask for it.

Thankfully, I had insurance through AT&T and was able to have a new phone shipped to my home ASAP, but if you don’t have any coverage through your mobile device carrier, then it is best to get a police report as proof that your phone was stolen by someone.

(In addition to having insurance through your cell phone carrier, I recommend purchasing traveler’s insurance before you embark on a new trip. I use both World Nomads and Safety Wing. Both insurance companies will help protect you during unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage, theft, natural disasters, personal liability, health scares and more.)

If your phone was stolen, lost or damaged and you don’t have insurance, I would inquire about the options you have with your mobile provider.

What to do if your phone gets stolen abroad in Southeast Asia. A woman wandering through a market in Cambodia.

When you report your phone stolen to AT&T, they will first tell you to try and find your phone through the Find My app. This app can locate lost or stolen phones, MacBook’s, iPads, Apple Watches and AirPods. Apparently, you can still find your lost or stolen device without the phone being on, but unfortunately, I couldn’t.

Another possible way you can try and locate your stolen phone abroad is by sharing your IMEI number with your wireless provider. IMEI means International Mobile Equipment Identity number. Even though it isn’t as effective as using Apple’s Find My iPhone, your provider can add your phone to the grey list of the IMEI database, which allows them to possibly track the device.

If you are able to locate your cell phone after it was stolen abroad, it is best that you let the local police know. If you try to find it yourself, it can put you in big danger. A lot of the times, robbers will try to ransom you to get your belongings back.

AT&T Phone Stolen and Can’t Be Found – Now What?

What to do if your phone gets stolen abroad in Europe. A woman experiencing a snowfall in Salzburg, Austria.

If you cannot locate your phone right away, it is best that your cell phone carrier, whether it be AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, etc. suspend your service (so your SIM card cannot be used) and blocks your phone number so that the robber cannot use it at all on your network. Pretty much, your carrier will cancel your stolen phone once you let them know.

Please note that when you eventually receive your new cell phone, your carrier must unblock your number and get your service back up and running. When I got my new device after I arrived home from Colombia, I was trying to figure out why my cellular data wasn’t working. You must call them right away.

Change Your Passwords:

What to do if your phone gets stolen abroad? Change your passwords. A woman on her computer.

If your phone is stolen abroad, it is best to change your passwords right away! The first thing I did was change my iCloud password. Because my iCloud holds all my information for both my cell phone and MacBook Pro, that was the number one thing I took care of off the bat.

Even if you have a passcode on your phone with FaceID, some of these robbers are smart enough to still be able to get into your phone and access your important apps and accounts. If you change your iCloud password, they will not be able to get into your information.

After changing my iCloud password, I also changed my passwords for Venmo, all my banking apps, my email and also my social media accounts.

The only issue I ran into was two-factor authentication. When changing my passwords for my social media apps, they sent a code to my phone number. Since I didn’t have access to my cell phone, I had to get the verification through email. For two-factor authentication, make sure you have more than one method set up to become verified!

Don’t Panic:

A woman wandering around London's Notting Hill area

As someone who suffers from anxiety, I was surprised by how well I took this situation! If you face an unlucky incident, where your phone, wallet, camera or other valuables get stolen while you’re abroad, it is best to stay calm, get in touch with loved ones back at home right away and leave it in the hands of the authorities.

I find that when I panic, I can’t focus on what I need to do to help my situation. I know it is easier said than done, but practicing breathing methods helps me to chill out during stressful times.

Also remember, nothing is worth your life! If someone comes up to you and wants your belongings, just hand it to them. They are more likely interested in your valuables, such as a phone, camera, wallet, jewelry, etc., than you.

Even though having your phone stolen abroad (or anywhere for that matter) is a bummer, it is a great learning experience. It taught me to always be aware of my surroundings; to be more conscious when using it out in public; to always have everything backed up; to print out important documents when traveling and it also proved that two-factor authentication is important for everything.


What to do if your phone gets stolen abroad in Bali

I hope you all found this article to be helpful if you’re traveling abroad. If you have any questions, please email me at [email protected]

*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

Below are the top travel companies I use for convenience and cost:

2 Comments

  1. Patrick on May 12, 2022 at 10:05 am

    Terrible that you got your phone stolen! Glad to see how proactive you were when it happened. Sad to say, but before reading this, my first move probably wouldn’t have been to change all of my passwords like you did. Now I know better!

    • Taylor Deer on May 19, 2022 at 3:10 pm

      Thank you Patrick! It was an unfortunate event, but like I said, things could’ve been worse. 🙂

Leave a Comment





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