Thieves and con-artists take advantage of Brits while overseas

Published on 1 January 1970 by Raffick Marday

Goods which are stolen from British holidaymakers reach an average value of £414, according to Sainsbury’s Money Travel.

prepaid cardsOut of the Britons who have ventured abroad in the past two years, around 7% were victims of thieves or conmen according to the research.

It also showed that thieves tend to operate in public transport and hotel rooms and that the item most commonly stolen is cash.

Travellers are being advised to be wary in taxis, with drivers often enforcing a “seat belt fine” which involves them handing passengers’ money to a “policeman” who is in fact his partner-in-crime.

Taxi drivers have also been known to pull “the note switch” where they take a large note from passengers, switch it and show them a smaller one, then claim they are owed money.

Bus drivers also target tourists. In one scam, for example, the driver pretends that the bus has broken down in the middle of nowhere and forces passengers to pay extra in order to be collected by another bus.

Almost two thirds (59%) of those who fell victims to thieves or con-men in the past two years had loose cash stolen, while nearly one in four (23%) were robbed of their entire wallet or purse.

Other stolen items included credit or debit cards (14%), mobile phones (12%), cameras (10%), clothing (10%), iPods or similar devices (7%) and watches (6%). The average value of money or items taken was £414.

Although public transport and hotel rooms are crime hotspots, with 16% of victims saying they were robbed or swindled in each of these locations, some 13% have suffered from thefts at a tourist attraction, 13% while walking down the street and 10% while on the beach.

Jo Nola, who works at Sainsbury's Travel Money, said: "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.”

Travellers may wish to consider getting a prepaid credit card before going on holiday. Prepaid credit cards are secure because they are not linked to your bank account and as money has to be loaded onto the card, they prevent overspending while overseas.

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