Some timely advice may save the day There are more than a few security hazards to be aware of while on vacation that can save time, trouble and heartache. Bill Stanton, a New York City policeman has this advice: thieves tend to be opportunistic, do not make it easy for them to take advantage of the situation. Before leaving home, make sure all windows and doors are locked. Suspend newspaper subscriptions and do not tell anyone who delivers product or services that no one will be home. Put a unique identifying tag on all baggage. Too many suitcases look alike; thieves like that, it is easier for them to steal. Purchase a brightly colored suitcase or put a highly visible tag on the handle; this will make the bag easy to spot. Make good use of carry-on bags. Put the most valuable items in carry-on along with a complete change of clothing. Protect the laptop screen from prying eyes when using a computer. Identity thieves are experts at retrieving valuable information by watching the laptop screen. Privacy filters are available at office supply stores. Do not talk loudly when checking into hotels. Thieves standing nearby listen for names and room numbers. Do not return room keys or plastic key-cards to the hotel when checking out. A clever thief can retrieve all the information off the electronic strip that many hotels use to store names, addresses, credit card and drivers license numbers. Cut the key up and dispose of it carefully. Use the room safe for money and valuables. Cleaning staff often leave room doors wide open. A thief can enter the room while it is being cleaned. Look for the exits. Count how many doors from the room to reach the exit. Be prepared. Secure all cash. Pickpockets are everywhere. Men should either wear a money-belt or keep their wallet in their front pocket. Women should wear their purse over the shoulder and tucked under one arm. Minimize the thief’s opportunities. Criminals are not on vacation. Ask the hotel concierge about the crime rate in the area before striking out to see the city. Many of the best hotels are located in questionable areas.

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