Criminals can steal your credit card and passport information without actually touching or swiping the cards.  They can simply walk by and retrieve the data electronically with a portable RFID scanner.  Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) wallets and sleeves are an inexpensive way to block these scanners from accessing your information, protecting your credit cards and identity.

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Pack Flip Flops.  A pair of flip flops are cheap, take up very little space in your baggage and weigh almost nothing; however, they are great to have when community or public showers must be utilized or for the walk down to the pool or beach.

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Make your bags stand out.  The vast majority of suitcases are black and look basically the same.  This makes them much easier to steal at baggage claim which is a full time business at major airports.  Making your bag stand out from the rest actually makes them safer and less likely to be targeted by thieves.

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If your hotel phone rings and the person on the other end claims to be from the hotel stating that there is a problem with the credit card you used to check in, asking you to confirm the card number, expiration date and security code, DON'T DO IT.  This is a scam from outside the hotel trying to get your card information.  If you think there might actually be a problem with your card walk down to the front desk and give them the information in person.

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Criminals are sliding fake flyers for items such as Pizza under hotel room doors in hopes that you'll call a phony number to place an order.  The person who answers the call will ask for your credit or debit card number with expiration date and before you're aware of it your card has been maxed out or your account emptied.  And of course you'll never receive any food!

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Weigh your risks. Every location, both domestically and abroad have security issues.  Before you travel take a serious look at the security risks and make a rational decision whether you should go or not.  If something were to happen you won't be surprised and should be prepared to handle the issue.

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Always register your overseas trips with the U.S. Dept. of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP.)  It's free, fast and easy.  STEP is used to locate and notify US citizens of serious security threats and evacuations.

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Don't wave our flag.  Travelling overseas is not the time to wear your favorite American flag T-shirt (hat, coat, I Luv NY, etc.)  I love our country but a lot of people in foreign countries do not.  Wearing something that specifically identifies you as an American only makes you more of a preferred target. 

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Carrying your wallet in your front pocket makes it much harder for pickpockets to steal it.  If you do carry it in your back pocket, place a couple of fat rubber bands around it.  This causes the wallet to drag on the material and makes it much harder to slide out smoothly without being detected.

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When traveling overseas, instead of taking an ATM card which is directly tied to your bank account, consider taking a prepaid Visa or Master Card ATM card.  These cards can be preloaded with a specific amount of money and can only be used at ATM's with your secure pin number.

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Build up an emergency supply of your prescription medications by refilling the prescription 3 to 4 days before it's due.  Within 8-10 months you'll have built up a full month's supply to keep on hand for emergency situations.

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When traveling abroad, keep small amounts of cash in your wallet or money clip to be used for daily purchases and keep the majority of your money hidden in a separate location.  If robbed you can give the criminal your "day money," they will have what they want and leave, and you'll still have the remainder of your cash available.

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Always pay the Taxi fare inside the cab.  You don't want to be flashing your money where everyone can see how much you have and where you keep it.

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Try cross packing.  Pack several sets of your spouse's clothes in your bag and some of yours in theirs.  If one set of luggage is lost by the airlines you'll both have clothes to wear until the bag can be located or the items can be replaced.

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Always place a second luggage tag inside your bag so that if the one on the outside is lost the airline will know who the bag belongs to. 

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Never place your passport and other travel documents inside your checked luggage!

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Thousands of people are robbed in Mall parking lots this time of year. Although your car alarm may help stop an attack, most people have heard so many car alarms that they no longer pay attention to them. The ila Dusk is a product that will get everyone's attention:

www.ilasecurity.com/us/ila-dusk-video/.  Instead of a standard car alarm, the ila Dusk uses an extremely loud electronic version of a woman's scream to thwart off an attacker.  For less than $20 (QVC, Amazon, eBay) this sound will grab the attention of everyone around and most likely scare off the attacker!

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If you are driving cross country for the Holidays, with the cold weather the country is experiencing please take climate conditions into account before leaving home.  An accident can leave hundreds of travelers stranded on a highway for hours.  Many people have run out of gas waiting for the roads to clear and suffered hypothermia.  Before leaving home, throw a sleeping bag, a couple of water bottles and some snacks in the back for emergency purposes.

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Before departing on overseas travel, scan your Passport, Visa, driver's license and credit cards then email the copied documents back to yourself as an attachment.  That way you'll be able to retrieve your documents should they become stolen.  Most hotels provide access to the internet or you can find an internet cafĂ© where you can log into your email account and retrieve copies of the documents.

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When traveling, take along paper copies of your prescriptions (to include eye glass prescriptions) and any pertinent medical history.  Make sure your traveling companions are aware of these items and where they are located.  Should something happen and you are unable to communicate with the doctors your companions will be able to provide medical personnel the information needed to provide for your care.

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Security Tip of the Week:  Another ploy criminals have used to stop vehicles in remote areas is to throw an egg at the cars windshield as it drives by.  Should this ever happen DO NOT attempt to wash the egg off with your windshield washer and wipers.  The water causes the egg to emulsify and the wipers will smear the egg over the entire windshield to the point that the driver can no longer see the road and must stop.  Should this ever happen, leave the egg where it is and continue to drive to a safe location where it can be removed by hand using cleaner and towels.

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 Security Tip of the Week:  With the terrorist attacks taking place at a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, this tip is worth repeating.  If a crisis situation happens in a crowded public location, if you are not one of the first people out of the main exit, take a moment and look for an alternate escape route.  In the majority of cases more people are trampled to death trying to get out of the main exit than died from the cause of the panic (shooting, fight, fire, etc.)  Take a moment and look for the "nearest" EXIT sign and remember that exits are almost always located in the back of restaurant kitchens or stock rooms that may not be posted on the public side of the facility.

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Security Tip of the Week:  People that appear to be observant, aware of their surroundings and what they are doing are far less likely to become victims of personal crime.  Make it obvious that you pay attention to everything going on around you and especially to anyone who appears to be a potential threat.






Travel and Security

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