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Whether you're traveling the South Pacific, across the United States, or taking a short hop to your favorite weekend spot, you must always be aware of your environment. Be careful and be safe.

Avoiding Phone Scams While On Vacation
by Kathryn Lively.

Few technological wonders have made life and communication easier than the cell phone. So long as one is within a good calling range, you can contact anybody, anytime, while traveling. Having a cell phone is especially handy in emergencies, should your car break down or should you get lost in an unfamiliar place. People without cell phones have the convenience of using pre-paid calling cards, so as not to worry about long distance phone bills. Just enter a passcode and talking to anybody you wish.

Due to their ease of use, such items have become the target of thieves.

Phone Card Fraud

While one might not think there is much benefit to stealing a simple phone card, people are finding a way to make money from stolen authorization codes. Whether you are using a card for which there is a monthly bill or a pre-paid card, once a thief has the pass code he can make calls or engage in illegal "call-sell" operations, selling long distance time to others and pocketing the profits.

How does a thief obtain an authorization code? Think about the last time you used a phone in a public place. You might have been at the airport, bus station, or your hotel. Maybe you used a pay phone or your cell, and maybe you didn't notice the possibility that you were being watched. Thieves are becoming craftier in their surveillance skills; if one doesn't linger around the pay phone, pretending to wait to use it, one just might be watching you with binoculars or a zoom lens, taking note of the numbers you punch into the phone. You probably wouldn't know until the end of the month, if you are using a billed card, and find a list of calls you didn't make.

Always be alert when making a phone call in public. Shield the phone's keypad from sight, and keep any calling cards close. Better yet, if you can memorize your authorization code, do so. If you have to speak your code into the phone, keep your voice low and out of others' earshot. If you have a cell phone, program any code numbers into your speed dialing system.

Phone Travel Scams

It's early in the morning, and you're snoozing in your hotel bed when the phone rings. The clerk at the front desk claims there is an authorization problem with your credit cards, perhaps their number is wrong. Could you give him your credit card number for confirmation? Without thinking, you do and go back to sleep, annoyed by this inconvenience on the hotel's part.

What you might not realize is that you could be further inconvenienced by a whopping credit card bill.

We are hearing more and more about this particular scam targeted at travelers. A room is picked at random and the traveler tricked into surrendering valuable information, allowing the thief control of your identity. Assuming you spend minimal time dealing with hotel staff, you aren't going to know the voice of the day clerk, so you don't think much of it. It's an easy trap, but it can be avoided. Never volunteer any personal information over the phone while away - no name, credit card numbers, anything. If you feel the call is suspicious, hang up immediately and go down to the front desk to confirm if any calls were made by them to your room. Always best to be safe.

Cell Phone Safety

As cell phones get smaller and smaller with the new technology, it's a wonder we don't lose them more often! Yet, it still happens, and it is important to immediately report a lost or stolen phone to your service carrier as soon as possible to avoid incurring fraudulant charges. With travelers, too, came the problem of cell phone "cloning" fraud - this occurs when a thief gets a hold of a specific cell phone's signal and duplicates it into another phone. The thief's phone is then recognized as your phone, allowing the thief to make illegals calls on your bill. As the major wireless companies are taking counteractive measures against this type of theft, cloning fraud should not be the problem it used to be; nonetheless, it is always suggested to consult with your wireless company about fraud.

Vigilance and proper use of your phone and phone cards can prevent theft while away from home.

Kathryn Lively Lively writes for journeyPod, travel site and podcast.

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Criminals Work Vacation Rest Stop
by Johnny Jenkins

Traveling is an inescapable part of American life. We all enjoy the thought of seeing something we have not seen before. The open road gives us the freedom we desire, but we must also prepare for our own safety.

Trudy and Winston were a retired couple who loved to travel. They traveled many places including overseas. The type of travel they liked most was the open road right here in the good old United States of America. They owned a sports utility vehicle and loaded it up for the new destination.

They saw the sights and made stops along the way to rest. They frequently stopped at the roadside rest stops where they used the facilities and got information on the area. One week they were on a trip to Florida. It was about an 800 mile drive with plenty of rest stops in between.

About 200 miles into the trip they decided to stop and get some rest. They pulled into a rest stop alone, on a secluded highway. There were other people there, so they felt pretty comfortable. A wooded area surrounded the rest stop, which was not out of the ordinary for that part of the country.

They parked the vehicle got out and made sure it was locked. Trudy had to use the restroom and asked the attendant where it was. She said its on the backside of the building. Be careful there are some strange bugs back there said the attendant. Trudy hated bugs and was not sure if she wanted to use it. Mother nature told her she better go before they got back on the road.

She went into the restroom, and as she was coming out a man knocked her down, snatched a pearl necklace off her neck, and ran into the woods. It took her a moment to regain composure. By that time Winston was coming around the corner looking for her. He found her, as she was rising from the ground. She told him what happen he was furious, but thankful that it was not worst. They reported the incident but do not let it spoil their trip.

Roadside rest stops are there for our convenience. They save us the trouble overextending when we need a break from driving. There have been many crimes committed at some of these stops. They include rape, robbery, and even murder. It is in your best interest to plan your trip and make your stay at road stops as brief as possible. Be aware of your surroundings at rest stops.

If the facilities are too risky, go to the next small town and rest there. If you do use the restroom have someone stand outside and wait for you to come out. When you leave your vehicle make sure it is locked. Put all important packages in your trunk. Never allow kids or pets to roam free at rest stops. They might cause a distraction, which can take your attention away from other areas. The break you take at a rest stop can be safe with a little precaution.

Johnny A. Jenkins, Distribution Director of Repeller Technology, provides self-defense and safety products, tips and advice to fit most situations. Make your surroundings safer for you and loved ones today at Repeller Technology.

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Wake Up Call
by Johnny Jenkins

Sharon is a top executive in a fast growing company. Her position requires her to travel a lot. She drives to her destination and usually stays in a local hotel. She never really gives much thought to the hotel she chooses, if it looks all right she is satisfied.

One morning about 2 A.M. There was a knock on her hotel room door. The person was a male who claimed to be hotel security. He said that someone from her room had called about a suspicious person and he was there to investigate.

Sharon thought, I never made any phone call. She yells out let me call the front desk to verify that they sent you. She soon heard what sounded like someone running out of the entrance doors to her hallway. Sharon reported the incident and found out that there were similar incidents in other hotels in that area and a woman had been assaulted the night before. Sharon began choosing her hotels very carefully.

Traveling over the highway is a way of life for most Americans. If you are like most of us traveling to some destination is an essential part of your life. We prepare for the trip with painstaking care, but what about our living quarters along the way?

Visiting family in other parts of the country, vacations or business are among the top reasons we travel. With travel comes the inseparable problem of finding adequate and safe lodging. Do not assume that because a Hotel has a famous name it will be totally safe.

Most hotel owners make it their business to provide safe and accommodating rooms. For added safety, the patron must add his/her own brand of awareness to the mix. You should never assume that a hotel has your personal security at the top of their to do list. Taking precautions will give you piece of mind and help ensure you and your family safety.

When you choose a hotel, you should take the time to look at features other than its conveince. Consider the parking lot, surrounding businesses and the area in general. Look for a parking lot that is well lit and secure.

When it comes to choosing a hotel smaller is smarter.

You want the staff to be familiar with you and your guest and beware of those who are just loitering with possible criminal intent. Sometimes perpetrators hang around looking for the best victims. If someone raises suspicion the desk clerk can notify inhouse security.

Choose hotels on well trafficked streets. If possible the street should have patrons most of the time. Therefore, if you do fall into a situation there will be plenty of people that will hear a noise and bring help. Restaurants, late night stores are a good indication that a street is well trafficked.

You can get your best information from hotel employees, but if they work in reservations, their information may not be as reliable for the need to make sales. Restaurant employees may be able to tell you if it is safe to venture out at certain times.

Two enemies of criminals are time and difficulty. If there are undesirables in the area, they will be looking for the easiest victims and the most secluded place. A reception desk near the entrance, and/or the elevators, is more likely to deter nonguest undesirables.

There should be privacy for guests checking in: no one should be able to overhear a name, room number, or other personal information. Room numbers should be written on the key envelope, not mentioned aloud or inscribed on the key this way, anyone finding your key won't have access to your room.

Johnny A. Jenkins, Distribution Director of Repeller Technology, provides self-defense and safety products, tips and advice to fit most situations. Make your surroundings safer for you and loved ones today at Repeller Technology.

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