With the holidays drawing near, you may be considering spending it abroad. While travel is a rewarding experience, be conscious that it isn’t without woes. You should know how to keep your valuables safe while travelling this holiday season. If you will not be constantly alert while you’re in the busy streets of any country, you’re bound to lose something to the crafty pickpockets and con artists spotting unsuspecting and naïve travellers.
Rick Steves pointed out in his post Outsmarting Pickpockets and Thieves, “Europe is safe when it comes to violent crime. But it’s very “dangerous” in terms of petty theft: Purse-snatching and pickpocketing are rampant in places where tourists gather.”
Esteves also explained why thieves target Americans like him: “Thieves target Americans — not because they’re mean, but because they’re smart. Americans have all the good stuff in their bags and wallets. Loaded down with valuables, jetlagged, and bumbling around in a strange new environment, we stick out like jeweled thumbs. If I were a European street thief, I’d specialize in Americans — my card would say “Yanks R Us.”
Protecting Yourself from Thieves
Thieves do not pose as criminals. They are creative and have mastered to talk, look and act like any trustworthy person. They are also masters of various types of theft. Brian Martucci of Money Crashers offers his readers a few tips to avoid becoming a victim in his blog Protect Your Money While Traveling. He shares with the readers the seven common types of theft, namely:
- Pickpocketing: The thief is one with a nimble finger who can easily lift a cell phone, wallet, phone, or money out of a purse or shoulder bag of an unsuspecting traveller.
- Mugging: The typical mugging scenario is in a dark or dimly lit alleys or side streets, and the archetypal mugger wields or is armed with a gun or a knife. Note that mugging may also happen even in crowded public places in broad daylight.
- Distraction Schemes: This type usually involves more than one criminal. One creates a situation that will avert your attention, so that the other thief can steal your valuables.
- Bag Operations: This kind of theft is quite complicated and can be frighteningly well-organized. They may have accomplices in the hotel that may provide help to manipulate security footage, disarm alarm systems, etc.
- Counterfeit Change: Travelers who are unfamiliar with the appearance and feel of the local currency are the usual targets in places like restaurants. You pay your meal with a large bill. The waiter comes back telling you, it’s a fake, so you give another bill when the first isn’t really a fake.
- Wireless Identity Theft: This is also called contactless pickpocketing. It is a “high-tech trend in travel-related theft.” It can be used on any payment card with am RFID (radio frequency identification) chip. Thieves hack the radio frequency devices to steal account data.
- ATM Skimming: This is a form of ATM theft that is hard to detect. It uses and ultra-thin card-reading device that can easily slip into or around a machine’s card reader, sneakily skimming the magnetic strip of the cards being inserted in the machine
Don’t Make Yourself “The Target”
Being aware of the basic ways by which thieves may steal from you, can be important to heighten your awareness and keep you on your toes. You can also protect yourself by knowing some of the most forthright ways to keep not only your money, gadgets and other valuables, but also your personal information. Martucci offers these tips:
- Minimize Use of Physical Cash
- Use an RFID-Blocking Money Belt
- Avoid Visibly Displaying Money and Valuables
- Keep Valuables in Multiple Locations
- Record Important Financial Information and Keep Separate
- Be Smart About ATM Usage
- Keep a Tight Watch on Your Bags
- Tell Your Financial Service Providers About Your Travel Plans
- Research Your Destination
You may feel piqued when you’re ripped off, but it’s best to forget about it, so you can continue to enjoy your vacation. For your protection, it is best that you get travel insurance before heading even to the seemingly safest travel destinations.
While most cases experienced by unsuspecting travellers aren’t really violent in nature, it can give you problems. The misfortune may also shatter your positivity and you may even lose your faith in the basic goodness of people. If you will protect yourself with these tips you can limit your vulnerability and have more opportunities to enjoy a fabulous holiday.