The majority of crimes are as a result of opportunists and fraudsters exploiting the good will of businesses, locals and holiday makers alike.
But by making yourselves ‘unappealing’ as targets and being aware of some of the tricks being used, we hope to help you avoid common pitfalls.
Opportunist criminals – don’t make yourself an easy target:
- If you’re travelling by car;
Don’t leave any valuables on display whilst your vehicle’s unattended. Ideally, your accommodation will have on-site parking, but if you are parked-up anywhere overnight, remove any valuables and baggage.
Don’t leave yourselves stranded, remember your car might not have clocked-up much mileage recently, so it’s worth getting it checked over by a trusted garage before heading out on longer journeys.
- Don’t leave your bags unattended outside of your holiday home, particularly if they contain documents, phones, or any other valuables. Consider anything with your data on it as valuable.
- If a ‘friendly stranger’ asks where you are staying, avoid giving them any details – chances are they’re a friendly local but better to exercise caution. Similarly, don’t divulge too much information about your stay such as how long you will be staying for.
- Don’t leave possessions unattended in public spaces, such as on the beach or poolside for example.
- Consider your appearance. High-end brand embellished fashion and accessories or expensive watches and jewellery could be advertising yourself as a valuable target.
- Instead of taking your bank card, consider carrying a pre-paid card as a good way to limit your accessible funds in case of theft.
- Don’t leave your dog alone outside – ever. Even if your accommodation has a garden, keep an eye on your pet. Exercise caution in letting children walk the dog without an adult being present as reports of dognapping’s continue. Dog theft increased by 170% in 2020, according to Blue Cross: How to protect against dog theft.
- Always secure your holiday property, even if it’s tempting to leave windows open in hotter climates and where relevant always use a key safe box.
- Don’t ‘advertise’ on social media that you are away on holiday and wait until you are home to share all those lovely holiday pictures. For the criminally minded, your social media can be a gold mine of information.
Fraud – prevention is better than cure:
- Before booking an unfamiliar restaurant and paying a deposit, check they are a legitimate business by looking at reviews, online pin maps and pictures of its location. This is a simple way that fraudsters are using to extract money for non-existent bookings.
- Consider using mobile data rather than open Wi-Fi. This means the whole family party, especially where devices are sync’d, so don’t forget to agree this in advance or use parental settings.
- Contactless payment is now an everyday thing, but with limits of £45 rising to £100 per transaction and £300 for multiple payments, skimming your contactless card is an easy low-risk criminal activity. Take care to protect your card in crowded or accessible places. You can protect it using a faraday bag or an RFID card holder/accessory.
- If you’re travelling overseas, keep photos of important documents in a draft email in your account that you can access from any device in case they are lost or stolen. And if your passport is ‘missing’ for any period of time, even if it’s then ‘found’, report it and get it replaced on your return in case your identity has been stolen.