1. Don’t get scammed:
Before you travel, see what the local scams are in the area that you are traveling to. Know how to protect yourself from becoming a victim of senseless crime. Criminals are getting smarter and finding out new ways to scam innocent people everyday. Be careful about where you visit ATM machines. Making sure they are in a populated area that is well lit. Preferably a bank! When filling up with gasoline, look for card scammers at the pumps before you insert your credit/debit card. Illegal card readers can be placed inside these pumps in a matter of minutes, allowing the scammers to have multiple credit card numbers in a short period of time.
2. Bring your own security measures:
Purchase a jammer or boot to be placed under your hotel room door. This simply adds to the security measures already put in place from the hotel. Make sure and utilize the hotel safe if one is available for your jewelry, cash, passports and other valuables. You may also think about bringing your own travel locks and using them when possible. When crossing over the border, be sure to turn off all electronic devices to help prevent any high tech attacks on encryption. It’s always a good idea to set up (2FA), or two factor authentication. This is added protection from anyone entering any of your accounts.
3. Leave a Digital Footprint:
Always take digital photos of important documents. If you were to lose any of them, it could be extremely difficult to return home, let alone, enjoy your trip. It is always wise to leave a copy with a family member or close friend back home as well. Always stay in touch with a family member or close friend back home as well. Keeping them updated to your travel and movements to include a schedule of events while abroad or on vacation.
4. Don’t draw attention to yourself:
Stay away from flashy jewelry and clothing. Try not to stand out, but rather blend in with the locals. When in the public’s eye, try to refrain from map reading and other indicators that you look like a lost tourist. Make sure you know the local phone numbers for emergency services, should the need arise to use them. Make sure the vehicles you get into are clearly marked taxis, or pre-arranged travel. This includes body language as well. In different countries eye contact and other certain body language can mean drastically different things. Know and study the location you are traveling to in advance.
5. Travel Light:
Refrain from traveling with too much cash. Keep your cash and credit cards in separate locations. This makes it difficult for anyone to grab everything from you at once. Be careful when taking out your wallet, thieves are watching. Pack the right bag for your destination as well. A cross body bag is much safer than your usual over the shoulder purse and makes would be thieves have to work to get yours. Don’t travel with anything of importance or value in your back pockets. It is too easy for a pickpocket to take.
6. Strength in Numbers:
Travel in pairs! You are always safer in numbers. If you drink, drink responsibly as you are not a local and they will know that. Make sure you continually scan your surroundings for anything out of the ordinary or suspicious. If it doesn’t feel right…..It’s most likely not and you should remove yourself from the potential of being a victim. Travel in well lit areas. If you feel you are being followed, it is okay to walk into another hotel, or business and ask for assistance. Whatever you do, don’t walk to your hotel, or destination while being followed. As soon as you reach your room, be sure to always lock your doors and windows.
Written by: Patrick Knight, Program Manager, Security Operations