Identity Theft Expert and Speaker on Personal Security Offers Nine Tips to Help Holiday Travelers Reduce Their Risk of Falling Prey to Crime
(BOSTON, Mass. – Nov. 16, 2007 – IDTheftSecurity.com) A number of reports have, as in years’ past, cited the sharp spike in travel expected over the holiday season, which is set to begin next week. Robert Siciliano, a widely televised and quoted personal security and identity theft expert, offered advice for all travelers to follow, helping them to avoid falling prey to predators and other criminals while away from home.
“Criminals love it when we’re distracted,” said Robert Siciliano. “They’re best able to steal from us, or assault us, when we’re off guard, and travelers are often most likely to be so. Luckily, we can implement simple measures to reduce our risks.”
CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com and a member of the Bank Fraud & IT Security Report’s editorial board, Siciliano leads Fortune 500 companies and their clients in workshops that explore consumer education solutions for security issues. An experienced identity theft speaker and author of “The Safety Minute: 01,” he has discussed data security, consumer protection, and personal security issues such as self-defense on numerous television outlets, including CNBC, on NBC’s “Today Show,” and FOX News.
On Nov. 14, CarJunky.com published an article on safe driving tips, and on the same day, the Monticello Herald Journal quoted law enforcement officials saying the day for Thanksgiving sees the most travel of the season. Siciliano shared nine tips designed to help holiday travelers stay safe during this time of year:
1. Securing your mobile computing equipment: Reports of laptop thefts have dominate the news. Those planning to bring work with them on their holiday travels should secure their mobile computing equipment with technology that guards and retrieves the data on these machines once in the hands of thieves. Once such product, MyLaptopGPS™, allows users, from a remote location, not only to retrieve and delete data from the lost machine, but also to track the device’s whereabouts with Internet-based GPS tracking.
2. Protecting your identity: It may seem old-fashioned, but consider paying with cash whenever possible; even better, try travelers’ checks. Plastic is susceptible to fraud. For instance, unscrupulous wait staff might use a wedge-type device to illegally swipe and capture patrons’ credit card information. A traveler should remember to be careful with credit cards and, also, to exercise caution when divulging a Social Security number. To learn more about identity theft, readers may watch video of Siciliano at VideoJug.
3. Understanding the fundamentals: Body language is 55 percent of communication. Strive to appear in control of yourself and your plans. Be alert to your surroundings. At all times, know what is going on 50 feet to 100 feet around the perimeter of your body. Voice tone and pitch equal 35 percent of communication. The way you communicate physically and verbally can determine whether a predator deems you a good target, so be confident and succinct.
4. Airport awareness: Airports are havens for criminals. Pay full attention to your belongings when airport security screens you. Fully cooperate with security personnel and be patient. Beware of strangers who are distracting or watching you.
5. Preventing abductions: Returning to a parked car, scan the area around it and watch for suspicious activity. Vans are telltale signs of foul play waiting to happen. Abductors and rapist will open the side door and pull their victims inside.
6. Pickpockets and thieves: Do not fight over material items. Carry currency in small amounts and denominations. Keep it in an easily accessible pocket. If someone tries to rob you, throw the “chump change” several feet away. This will distract the robber and give you time to escape.
7. Telephone basics: Protect your calling card number. Be wary of everyone around you as you enter this number. In airports, thieves could be videotaping a “going away” couple right behind you as you punch in your digits. The person standing at the phone next to you could be relaying your number to an accomplice.
8. Rental cars and transportation: Hide rental agreements, dead giveaways that you are traveling. Keep these off the dash. Don’t store valuables in the trunk, as many rental cars use a universal key to unlock everything. If you lose the ignition key, you may very well lose everything. Should you find yourself in a minor accident, stop only in a well-lit area. Carjackers provoke such “accidents” just to get travelers to stop. Do not stop on a deserted, dark street.
9. Staying at the hotel: Be suspicious of a call from the hotel desk just after check-in. The person on the other end of the phone may request verification of your credit card number “because the imprint was unreadable.” In reality, a thief may have watched you enter the hotel room and called from the guest phone in the lobby.
“On your way to visit family, make regular calls to loved ones and let them know where you are,” Siciliano concluded. “This ensures that they’ll have the most accurate idea possible of your whereabouts should a predator get the best of you.”
Identity theft affects us all. Robert Siciliano, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com and member of the Bank Fraud & IT Security Report’s editorial board, makes it his mission to provide consumer education solutions on identity theft to Fortune 500 companies and their clients.
A leader of personal safety and security seminars nationwide, Siciliano has been featured on “The Today Show,” CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, “FOX News,” “The Suze Orman Show,” “The Montel Williams Show,” “Maury Povich,” “Sally Jesse Raphael,” “The Howard Stern Show,” and “Inside Edition.” The Privacy Learning Institute features him on its Website. Numerous magazines, print news outlets, and wire services have turned to him, as well, for expert commentary on personal security and identity theft. These include Forbes, USA Today, Entrepreneur, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, United Press International, Reuters, and others.
The media are encouraged to get in touch with Siciliano directly:
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