American Express, Visa and Citibank are among the world’s most pernicious multinationals and it occurs to many backpackers that it would be no great sin to rob them blind. After all, they only have your word for it that your traveller’s cheques were stolen and they’re duty bound to replace them.
In the meantime if you’re in America you can have spent them in shops or if you’re in Asia it’s easy enough to sell them for 50-60% of their face value on the black market. God bless the currency exchange, you’ve got all your money back plus half again.
The traveller cheques companies aren’t exactly unaware of this kind of thing though and when they’re suspicious they make it very hard indeed to get your money back. In places like Bangkok they make travelers go through extensive interrogations with ex army sergeants, even going so far as to apply the lie detector test in some cases. Unless you’re a very solid liar you may find yourself breaking down and losing all your money as well as your credit rating for life.
You might spare a thought for all the backpackers who genuinely are robbed of their traveler’s cheques, too – the only reason life is made so hellish for them to get their money back is because of scammers like you!