CARD, DOCUMENT AND PHONE SECURITY
How to minimise the s while travelling
The , especially credit card and identity the , has been a longstanding problem for business travellers abroad. Petty non-violent crime is one of the most common risks business travellers face. So how can you avoid falling victim to it?
e or loss of credit cards and other important documents can happen no matter how careful you are. One of the best ways of reducing stress and inconvenience if this does happen is to make paper copies of important documents, travel and nancial, before leaving home. ese usually include passport, credit cards, driving licence, hotel reservations and insurance documents. Seasoned travellers recommend making two copies of each – one to take with you, and the other to leave at home with a family member or colleague.
When making copies of passports or emailing/faxing them, some travellers suggest adding a watermark to the document for added security. Microso Word has a watermark function, and you can add your own wording – “Only for hotel registration purposes”, for example – across the page, to deter identity the .
Pickpockets target expensive-looking mobile phones. In countries with high street crime such as Brazil or South Africa, it can make sense to use a cheap local phone and SIM while there and keep your valuable phone back at the hotel or well hidden, not brandishing it in public.
Before leaving, make sure you back up your mobile phone. iPhone users should also set the inbuilt “Find My iPhone” function to work (via Settings: Your Name: iCloud: Find My iPhone: on), so that you can erase the information on it remotely if you need to, as soon as your phone either has service or is connected to wi . is can be done by signing into iCloud via an internet browser, nding your phone under “All Devices” and selecting “Erase iPhone”. As for Android devices, there are free apps such as “Find My Device” (on the Google Play app store) that work in a similar way – but make sure you install them
rst. If your phone does go missing, call your service provider immediately so they can trace or block it.
Do not keep all of your money or documents in one place. Many travellers advise stowing cash and cards separately. Others suggest taking one credit/payment card out with you and keeping the others in the hotel safe. Storing cash in concealed pockets on your person is also a good idea.
Among the measures you can take to prevent petty the from happening, there are also ways to outsmart your assailant in the event that it does. “Skimming” credit cards is the practice where your card is taken out of your sight for a minute or so, read by a special electronic reader, and cloned before being returned to you. e simple solution to this is to not let the card out of your sight – admittedly that’s not always as easy as it sounds. Some travellers recommend scratching the CCV codes o the back of credit cards to render them useless to criminals who steal cards. Either remember the nal three-digit code or write it down and store it in a safe, separate spot.
An old trick that is simple, but e ective is to carry a fake wallet to hand over during a robbery. One could even ll it with out-ofdate credit cards to make the ruse all the more convincing.
Another tried and tested tactic is to conceal valuables in a money belt underneath your clothing.
Above all, being aware of your surroundings is key to staying safe as a business traveller. is includes the standard warnings of avoiding dark, unpopulated streets and ignoring strangers who might try to harass you, even if the strangers appear to be well dressed and sophisticated. Most importantly, know the local emergency phone numbers. Although the European Commission advocates 112 as an emergency phone number across the European Union, some countries in the EU have their own numbers (in the UK it is 999, for example). In the US the emergency number is 911. Olivia Hultgren