5 Ways To Stop Thieves In Their Tracks When Traveling

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Naive tourists mean big paydays for international crooks. Criminals think that since travelers are blowing so much cash on an overseas adventure, they have plenty of dough that can be easily swiped. What’s more, tourists usually prove the criminals right by not properly securing their money and valuables.

If you don’t want to make yourself a nice, fat target for criminals the next time you go abroad, follow these five simple tips.

 

1) Don’t Dress Like A Tourist

As awesome as that New England Patriots shirt is, you should probably leave it at home. Making it obvious that you are a tourist by wearing flashy clothes is basically equivalent to putting a glowing red sign above your head that says “Confused American Here. Please Rob.”

Instead, wear the kind of clothes that you see other people in your destination city wearing. Wear neutral colors, and always walk confidently wherever you’re going. The more confused and out-of-place you appear, the more thieves will view you as a target.

 

2) Keep Your Wallet Light

Do you have a fat wallet overflowing with wads of cash and stacks of credit cards? Whenever you leave your room, take out everything except for the absolute essentials, and secure the rest in your hotel safe or at the front desk. The more stuff you carry, the more devastating it will be if you actually lose everything. By only taking the absolute essentials (such as identification, a single card you plan to use, and a small amount of cash), the easier it will be to recover if thieves strike.

3) Don’t Access Personal Data On Public Computers

Resist the urge to check your email or bank account information on a public computer.  Tech-savvy crooks sometimes install key-loggers on these computers and record every keystroke made, which gives them all your login information. Protect yourself from identity thieves by simply avoiding web cafes.  If you absolutely, positively must be on the Internet, check with your hotel front desk to get their recommendations for going online.

But really, you shouldn’t be online anyway. You’re supposed to be on vacation!

 

4) Be Extra Aware of Crowded Areas

Thieves love spotting tourists in busy places like public markets. The crowd and the noise make it easy to get away with “accidentally” bumping into you and taking your wallet, camera, or phone in the process.

Whenever you find yourself in a big, noisy place, be on high alert and regularly pat your valuables to ensure they’re still there. Be aware: If anyone stumbles into you, they aren’t simply being clumsy, they are a pickpocket trying to distract you from a swift theft.

 

5) Keep Track Of Purchases and Verify When You Get Home

Thieves rely on you not keeping track of the purchases you make with a credit or debit card. Many tourists actually let criminals get away with making unauthorized purchases simply by never verifying everything they bought.

Whenever you buy something with a card, get a receipt and put it in an envelope. When you get home, make sure your receipts actually match up with your credit card statement. If you see purchases you totally don’t recognize, call your credit card company immediately. Your info may have been compromised, so you should cancel it and get a new one right away.

Taking all these extra steps to protect yourself might seem like extra work, but overall it’s a heck of a lot less painful than getting ripped off.  By taking some simple precautions, you will have a great getaway without getting stressed over potential robberies.

Logan Strain is a blogger from San Diego, CA.  He is proud to say he has never been robbed while on vacation.