Sainsbury’s Travel Money is encouraging holidaymakers to take extra care of their personal belongings while abroad, as new research reveals that around seven per cent of Britons who have travelled abroad in the past two years have fallen victim to conmen or thieves.
According to the findings, the average value of money or possessions stolen was £414.
The researchreveals that of those people who suffered from thefts or cons in the last two years, almost two thirds had loose cash taken while nearly one in four had their entire wallets or purses taken. Other stolen items included credit or debit cards, mobile phones, cameras, clothing, iPods or similar devices and watches.
Thefts or cons are most likely to take place in hotel rooms or on public transport, according to the research, with 16 per cent of victims saying it has happened in each of these locations.
Some 13 per cent have fallen victim at a tourist attraction, 13 per cent while walking down the street, and 10 per cent while on the beach. Another one in 10 have been duped or robbed in a bar, nine per cent at an ATM and six per cent while in a car, the same percentage as those who have fallen victim while in a shop.
We go on holiday to relax and spend time with our family and friends but unfortunately, our research reveals that for some Brits this time can be marred by falling victim to local crime."
Jo Nola of Sainsbury’s Travel Money said: “We go on holiday to relax and spend time with our family and friends but unfortunately, our research reveals that for some Brits this time can be marred by falling victim to local crime.
"Our research shows that cash is the most common target for thieves while on holiday so it's advisable to avoid carrying large amounts with you, or leaving it in your hotel room.
"A prepaid currency card, like a Cash Passport, is available from us and is worth considering as it enables you to withdraw money free of charge from ATMs while abroad.
"When buying your currency you can ask for a second card, so if you lose one, or it's stolen from you, your money is protected and your other card can be activated," she added.
The research also reveals an array of techniques thieves and conmen have used to swindle Britons whilst abroad in the past two years, including:
“The seat belt fine” – the taxi driver pretends you need to pay a fine for not wearing a seatbelt and hands your money to a “policeman” he is in cahoots with, or disappears round a corner to pretend he is paying an official at the airport.
“The beachcomber” – the thief watches you on the beach then takes your bag or possessions while you are swimming in the sea.
“The distraction dupe” – one fraudster distracts you with a false story or by making conversation while their accomplice goes through your bag or pockets.
“The bus breakdown” – the driver pretends your bus has broken down in the middle of nowhere and forces passengers to pay more money to be collected by a second bus.
“The note switch” – a taxi driver or barman takes a large note from you, then switches it and shows you a smaller one, claiming you owe him or her more money.
Sainsbury’s Travel Money offers the following tips on keeping your cash and possessions safe while abroad:
- Let your bank and credit card companies know you are going abroad so if your card is lost or stolen your money is protected.
- Spread valuables and money among several different bags and keep cards and cash separate.
- Don’t keep wallets in your back pocket.
- Don’t carry huge amounts of cash with you.
- Try to blend in – many tourists are a dead giveaway for would-be criminals with their bumbags, guide books and cameras in hand.
- Consider using a Cash Passport prepaid currency card that allows you to withdraw money from ATMs or use it to buy goods in shops, free of charge. If it is lost or stolen, the card can be cancelled immediately.
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Shabana Adam @Shabana_FAM