Here are a few scenarios that can result in you losing your belongings while traveling abroad.
In the subway, on a bus, in a club or discoteca, always be aware of your belongings. Keep your bags zipped up and in front of you, not behind you. Don’t put valuable things in your pockets where they are easily accessible to greedy fingers! Also, don’t flatter yourself, not every guy or girl who brazenly gropes and smothers you at the discoteca really wants to dance with you…
There are several clever thieves out there who come up with pre-meditated scenarios in which to grab your attention onto themselves, and away from your belongings. A friend of mine once watched a couple passionately make out under a street light while dining on an outdoor patio, only to realize that as soon as the couple disappeared, so did her purse!
In Argentina, cab drivers are notorious for giving us gringos bills that are completely trucho, or fake, as change. Also they tend to take advantage of us when converting dollars to their own currency. I try to always have the correct amount of change, and the correct currency if possible. Also, most bills now have a tell tale sign of whether or not it’s fake, try to always check.
Criminals are becoming very high tech, and have figured out a way to put tiny cameras and recorders on ATM’s that are so small you would hardly notice they are there unless you know what to look for. These cameras can copy down all of your card information and even your pin number so that they can use them for themselves in the future.
It’s tempting to sign onto insecure WIFI when you are out and about, but when you do so you are putting yourself at risk, and all of your personal info could become public to sneaky internet hackers.
One of the scariest incidents that happened, occurred in the middle of the day in a public place to a friend of mine. He had met a friendly stranger at a market, and agreed to accompany him to lunch. At some point the stranger slipped an odorless/ tasteless drug called scopolamine (AKA The Devil’s Breath), into his drink. The effects of scopolamine can cause a person to be completely incapacitated on the inside, with the inability to say no, while on the outside the person appears to be totally sober and normal. That day he and the stranger went to 5 different ATM’s and withdrew all of the money from his account. He awoke, 12 hours later, lying in a park, with no recollection of any of it, and no money left in his bank account.
I know many people who have had to pay excessive fines in order to avoid being imprisoned for petty crimes or even no reason. I also know people who have been set up by security guards who purposefully entrap them into doing something illegal, so they can then threaten to arrest them if they don’t give them money.
Often times people take advantage of the language barrier and offer you things that seem complimentary only to make you pay for it later. Or they try to confuse you when you’re ordering food and drinks, and fool you into agreeing to a lot more than you actually want. ~