The Clever Travel Companion Updates

RFID January 05 2017, 0 Comments

Why doesn't Clever Travel Companion provide RFID-Blocking tech?

RFID is the latest craze in the security conscious industry and although it has its merits, a craze is exactly what it is. For those of you who don't know what RFID blocking technology is and why it exists, here's a quick explanation: some personal valuable items such as credit cards, ID cards and passports contain wireless technology that allows their unique information and ID to be read by certain devices such as ATM's, in-store card readers, government agency tech and so on... This also means that some undesirable people, let's call them "hacker's", can also read the data from these particular items wirelessly from a small distance. RFID-blocking technology such as wallets and purses, prevents this from happening, which is good of course! But is it really necessary?

RFID Blocking Wallet

Well to begin with, most credit cards, which are the biggest concern here, don't actually have RFID transmitters so they cannot be "hacked" anyway. In order to find out if yours does or not, ask yourself: "Am I able to pay for items in-store without putting my card into a chip+pin device or anything similar?" if the answer is no, then you do not need RFID blocking tech. Even cards with wireless payment technology are protected by chip+pin verification, so without knowing your pin, the hacker would not be able to use your card. Similarly, most people do not carry their passports everywhere with them and "hackers" main priority is not identity theft, it creates more risky work before producing a reward, so again, its not a huge concern. I've also yet to touch on the likelihood of you coming into contact with anyone who has the ability, equipment and motive to commit such a fraud, the likelihood is close to 0%, in fact there are no statistics recorded for any such a crime having taken place. Think about it: someone with that kind of expertise is not likely to be standing on a street corner, putting himself at risk for a few hundred dollars, waiting for his first victim. He is hacking Google, Sony, Yahoo, even the U.S. Government and all from the comfort of his own location.

That, combined with the exorbitant pricing of these now hugely popular RFID-Blocking wallets and purses is why you should be worrying about other things. Opportunists have exploited consumer fears over RFID but they've also blurred the lines between real risks and false paranoia. Pickpocketing, mugging, theft and assault are all very real, very common and very dangerous. Give me the choice between having someone steal my credit card wirelessly and someone attack me for it and I know what I'd choose.

Clever Travel Companion will always focus on the real concerns of travel safety on continue to develop our range to provide the highest level of security. Right now, we can't see that RFID blocking tech is desperately needed or required and until it becomes so, we'll keep the cost of it out of our prices.


Why would someone steal my passport? September 14 2016, 0 Comments

Stolen Passports

What happens when you lose your passport? Why would someone steal it?

It's widely acknowledged that passports are important documents and they're certainly needed if you ever want to travel, but how important are they once immigration is cleared? What happens if it gets lost? Why would somebody want to steal MY passport, what value could it possibly have to someone else? The answer to all of these is that passports are VERY important and HIGHLY VALUABLE, especially when in foreign nations.

Millions of passports are recorded lost or stolen across the world every year and most of them become useless due to the sophisticated security measures now in place. However, this isn't always the case. Passports are incredibly valuable to organized criminal gangs and with the right know-how they can make it very easy to "prove" who the correct passport holder is i.e. the THIEF. This can lead to gaining access to the original holder's bank account or using their identity to set up new accounts, through which illegal funds can be laundered. More dangerously however, the passport can be used to travel under a fake, "clean" identity. Needless to say, this is a vital tool for criminal gangs such as human traffickers and drug smugglers. To demonstrate how easy and how common this is, two Iranians were aboard the recent Malaysian Airlines flight MH-370 which mysteriously went missing between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing and were traveling on fake Italian and Austrian passports picked up in Thailand. They boarded in Malaysia, a country that takes bio-metric fingerprints at immigration control. In another high profile report, the
hijackers of the 9/11 planes also used stolen passports and identities in perhaps the most infamous case of misusing I.D. documents used to commit crime. These days, the use of stolen passports has become an incredibly commonly used tool for terrorists targeting the west. 

Earlier this year a 5 year investigation came to end with the capture of an infamous and renowned figure in the worlds black market: The Iranian passport forger nicknamed "the doctor" in Thailand. The massive scale of his criminal empire was revealed when a number of his international brokers and employees were detained and gave up details of the operation. Pristine "Triple A" fake passports were manufactured using incredibly detailed and high quality equipment to gain entry to all countries for a sum of between $2000-$3000. Customer's never met "the Doctor", only his brokers and the passports were shipped worldwide using FedEx and DHL to drug gangs, terrorists, human traffickers, international criminals and even refugees. He noted his most popular recent customers were people fleeing war torn Syria.

When traveling, keep in mind that your passport is an incredibly valuable document and worth the trouble of stealing from you.
Take extra measures to keep it safe and secure at ALL TIMES

 

Stolen Passports

 

So what do you do if your passport is lost or stolen?

The good news is it's not the end of the world if your passport is lost or stolen and you're overseas, it's unlikely you'll be implied in the next big terrorist attack or engaged in serious international crime and you will be able to get home. Especially if you follow the correct steps as quickly as possible.

  1. Report your passport as being lost or stolen immediately, this will render it useless for international travel. U.S. Citizens can complete the report online here. For non-U.S Citizens, visit your government website for info on how to make the report.
  2. Contact your countries nearest Embassy, Consulate or High Commission and inform them of the situation. They will usually then issue an emergency passport for you to return home ONLY.
  3. When in your residence country, you can then apply for a new passport.

 

Anti-theft clothing

 

So how do you keep your passport safe?

Well naturally there are a lot of ways to keep your passport safe and out of harm but the obvious ones are the first places passport thieves will look. Can you be sure the hotel deposit box isn't compromised? Why would they have a deposit box and a contract clause stating they are not responsible for lost belongings if it was safe to leave valuables there? How much do you think the staff are paid in comparison to what a criminal gang will pay them for passports? Where is the risk if the lost property clause exists as it often does?

So keeping your passport on you at all times is the next option, after all in many countries this is a requirement and not being able to present it on request can result in a hefty fine and even jail time. Carrying a passport in a bag or fanny pack or similar presents to obvious problems, it's easier to get lost or left behind, it's clumsy and uncomfortable, it's difficult to dig around in and find what you need, it's also effectively a sign saying "tourist" and thus becomes a target for the exact people you're trying to protect yourself against.

Well good news! There's a solution: Clever Travel Companion's smart, anti-theft travel gear. Simply wearing one of these garments eliminates every single problem listed above and even better, ensures you and your passport will stay safe and out of harms way for the duration of your trip. Needless to say, this will free you up to do exactly what you started traveling for in the first place: Adventure!

 


5 Things Every Traveler Should Consider! August 29 2016, 0 Comments

Photocopy your Passport                                          

Yes, photocopying your passport is great on so many levels. In some countries a copy of your passport, ensures that you have identification for anything from entrance to tourist attractions to renting a motorcycle. Lots of tourist attractions won’t let you enter unless they can see your passport or a copy of it before entering.

You may say, why don’t I just use my passport as normal. Carrying your passport is risky. There is the chance it could be stolen or misplaced and that could cause a lots of problems. So, using this advice copying your passport makes a lot more sense and adds to you protecting your identity. Furthermore, keep your passport in a safe in the hotel and you should not have any problems, having photo copies is key, because it will speed up the process of getting a replacement, if one is needed.

Don’t Over Pack

Be frugal. Doing this you will ensure that you only take what you need. Roll everything up, this provides more space in your suitcase. Therefore, when you are on holiday, not only do you have all you need but you have room to buy plenty of souvenirs and plenty of room in your suitcase. Key point no extra charge for my luggage on return. Let’s say you are going to a destination where you know things are typically cheaper than your home country. So in this situation I would pack a minimal quantity of clothes. Therefore, this provides me with the opportunity to purchase items at a greatly reduced rate and now I have more than adequate space in my suitcase.

Don’t Pre-Book Everything

If you pre-book you are limiting your flexibility and freedom. Furthermore, usually pre-booking does not save you a lot of money, in fact travel agents often inflate the cost than if you were to buy locally. What I mean by this is - let’s say you are going for a 2-week vacation and you have booked an experience where on everyday something is planned for you to do. While I feel something like that may seem more convenient for the traveler who doesn’t want any hassle, though in reality you are really limiting yourself.

When you do this it makes your vacation a lot more restricted. You are somewhat stuck doing what has been planned even if you don’t feel in the mood that day, you will feel entitled to do it because you have already paid for it. While I don’t think pre booking some activates and special events before you arrive is a bad thing, I wouldn’t recommend not over doing it. If you leave more time free it will truly allow you more flexibility to do things you see and learn about when you arrive at your destination that you may not have even known about beforehand. Having the flexibility and freedom to do what you want at any time stops you being restricted when you shouldn’t be. This freedom allows you do go with the flow and really maximize your experience to the utmost potential.

Don’t Always Stay at Hotels

While staying at hotels may always seem the most practical and comfortable option. There are a lot of options available. If you were to rent a condo for example, this gets you in and around local life and you really get to experience what it’s like to live there. Other options are, you could stay at a hostel or ever use a site like couch surf where you stay at residents home free of charge. All of these options allow you to experience the country you are in and most importantly the people and the culture and for me that’s something amazing that you don’t want to miss out on.

Try a Location that’s off The Radar

Whilst it’s nice to go to popular locations, maybe you should consider trying something off the radar. Visiting a location like that is going to give you a more local vibe that sometimes you just won’t experience in the popular tourist locations. By that I mean trying somewhere unusual, somewhere unpredictable, somewhere that is out of the ordinary. Maybe just maybe this will turn out to be your dream location.

This article entry has been submitted by guest poster David Gray from Best Tent For You