It's traumatic to be robbed or mugged, especially when travelling overseas, away from your support network. It can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Even if you've taken steps to reduce your risks.
This page gives general advice on:
- what to do immediately after a robbery or mugging
- reporting a robbery or mugging overseas
- claiming on travel insurance
- how the Australian Government can help overseas.
What to do after a robbery, mugging or theft
- Get to safety.
- Look after your health. If you're injured, get medical assistance
- Report it to the local police.
- Contact your travel insurer (and car hire company if carjacked)
- Replace your stolen belongings
1. Think about your safety
Your safety is your first priority. You can replace your property, but you can't be replaced.
Get to safety. If you're already safe, stay put. If not, find somewhere well populated and well lit. If possible, find a police station, hospital or major hotel with security guards.
Don't chase after the perpetrator or try to track them down yourself. They may respond with violence. Let local police handle it.
2. Look after your health
Look after your health. If you're injured, get medical assistance.
We publish local emergency contacts in the travel advice for each destination.
3. Report it to the local police
Report the crime to the local police. We publish local emergency numbers in the travel advice for each destination.
Be aware that a local crime is a matter for local authorities. The Australian Government is limited in how and when it can get involved. See the Consular Services Charter.
Deciding if you'll report it
It's up to you if you'll report the robbery, theft, mugging or carjacking.
However, be aware that failing to report a crime is illegal in some countries. If so, and local police find out about it, they may arrest you. Before deciding not to report it, check the local law.
If you're the victim of a carjacking, failing to report the crime comes with other risks.
If the thief uses the car to break other laws (e.g. speeding), the police may think you were driving. They could arrest you for someone else's crime. Without a police report, you can't claim on car or travel insurance.
You'll need to provide the police with everything you can remember about the incident. As soon as you can, write down the details.
- Consider the perpetrator's physical attributes. This can include assumptions on age, weight, gender and nationality. Also remember their skin, hair and eye colour.
- Remember what they said. Also, how they said it. Details that may seem small on the surface can help the police in their investigation.
- Think about what you were doing at the time. Also think about what else was happening around you. What you were doing, and where, can also impact your travel insurance claim.
- Try to remember who else was nearby when it happened. Criminals often work in groups. For example, a person you interacted with may have been the decoy for a pickpocket or bag snatch.
Be careful about accusing someone of theft. Don't just assume it's the hotel staff or another guest. If you make an accusation without proof, local police could arrest you for defamation.
Get a police report
Your insurer may also ask for some of these details and a copy of the police report.
4. Prevent fraud and identity theft
If someone has taken your passport, phone or bank card, you're at risk of fraud or identity theft (Australian Federal Police). You must act quickly.
If someone has stolen your passport:
- Contact your nearest Australian embassy or consulate, or
- call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Australia on +61 2 6261 3305.
In some countries, you could also be arrested or jailed for not having your passport on you. Without it, you won't be able to leave the country to get home.
See our information about passports.
If someone has stolen your phone, use the remote wipe feature promptly.
Otherwise, if someone finds your phone and gets past your lock screen, they could access your personal information. This includes saved passwords and banking log-in details.
Stolen credit or debit card
If someone has stolen your debit or credit card, contact your bank to cancel it immediately.
Criminals can use your cards to quickly empty your accounts, and run up a debt to the maximum limit. Most Australian financial institutions have 24-hour emergency numbers you can call from overseas.
5. Contact your insurer
Contact your travel insurer. Tell them what happened.
You may wish to make a claim to:
- replace your stolen property
- repair or replace any damaged items from the incident
- cancel or change your travel plans
- get medical assistance if you're injured
- exempt the car hire insurance excess, if you've been carjacked.
Check the fine print on your policy. Confirm what you can claim. Find out how to claim.
You can also find contact details of travel insurers in Australia on Find an Insurer (Insurance Council of Australia).
Car insurer, if carjacked
Carjacking is a violent, road-based crime. It's also a form of robbery.
The car insurance claims process is separate to your travel insurance claim. Most travel insurance policies don't include car insurance. However, some include car hire excess cover.
Car insurance is usually through the hire company. There may be a very large excess.
Ask the hire company about their car insurance claims process, and their excess.
6. Replace your stolen items
- If you need a replacement passport, we can help. See our page on passports.
- If you need cash urgently, contact your travel insurer, family or friends. The Australian Government can't give you money.
- If you need new credit or debit cards, contact your bank. Most have processes to express post replacement cards to your hotel or a local post office while travelling overseas.
- To replace other stolen items you need while overseas, try to find local vendors. Understand that some items readily available in Australia may be hard to get overseas. This includes medications.
How the Australian Government can help if you've been robbed or mugged
Unless it's a passport, helping with stolen property is not typically a consular responsibility. In most cases, you need to take steps to resolve the situation yourself.
Understand how and when we can help Australians overseas. Read the Consular Services Charter.
What we can do
- We can help you get a replacement passport or emergency passport.
- We can support you to report your stolen passport to the Australian Passport Office and police in Australia.
- We can give you a list of local lawyers that speak English. You may need a lawyer if you're arrested or jailed for not having the money to pay your bill or not having your passport on you.
What we can't do
- We can't help you replace your items, unless it's a passport.
- We can't loan or give you money to replace your items.
- We can't help you find your lost property or conduct investigations.
- We can't help you with your travel insurance claim.
- We can't receive packages for you. We're not a post office. Ship your replacement items to a local post office or your accommodation.
- Act quickly if your passport is lost, stolen or damaged overseas. See passports.
- If someone stole your cards or cash, you may have money issues. See money problems overseas.
- Understand how and when we can help. Read the Consular Services Charter.
- Report a missing passport immediately. Find an Australian embassy or consulate overseas (DFAT).
- Learn about identity fraud (Australian Federal Police).
- Learn what to do if someone else has your identity documents (iDcare).
- Find contact details for travel insurers in Australia. See Find an Insurer (Insurance Council of Australia).