Heads up! Archive

Learn from the experiences of other Canadian travellers

April 26, 2013

A family from Nova Scotia steps off a plane at a European airport one evening ready for fun and relaxation on their road trip vacation. They pick up their rental car and pack it with their holiday essentials: suitcases, travel documents, a digital camera, a laptop, and travelers' cheques. On the way to their hotel for the night, they stop at a supermarket to pick up some snacks for the next morning’s drive. Groceries in hand, they arrive back at their car a few minutes later only to find that someone has broken in and stolen all of their belongings, leaving nothing behind save for a tourist map. Now, the family has to find the closest Canadian Embassy to apply for new travel documents - and they have to wear the clothes they arrived in for far longer than they expected to.

Rental cars are often full of luggage, personal electronics, and travel documents. The thieves make their move when the cars are parked at supermarkets, restaurants, or popular tourist destinations. They tend to break a car window or damage the lock to steal belongings, and it usually only takes one or two minutes to "clean out" the car. We recommend that you never leave valuable items in the car, and that you take your luggage to your hotel before enjoying the local sites and amenities.

When preparing to travel abroad, be sure to read up about both the sights and how to stay safe. For more information on staying safe abroad, visit Overseas fraud: an increasing threat to the safety of Canadians.

 February 19, 2013

A lone Canadian traveller is backpacking through Europe. En route to the train station to reach his next destination and with time to spare, he is window shopping, enjoying the sights and not paying close attention to his surroundings. Suddenly, a gentleman taps him on the shoulder, gestures to his back and says: “Excuse me, but you seem to have some sort of liquid on your coat.” In distress, the traveller immediately removes his backpack, sets the bag at his feet and removes his coat. Sure enough, a milk-like liquid has been spilled down the back of his coat. The traveller looks back up to thank the gentleman who pointed out the spill—only to discover that he and the backpack have disappeared.

This scam has been performed by two people working together. The duo picks a person, waits for the right moment and puts the scam into action: one person provides a distraction while the second one disappears with the property.

When preparing to travel abroad, be sure to read up about both the sights and how to stay safe. For more information on staying safe abroad, visit Overseas fraud: an increasing threat to the safety of Canadians.

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