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?
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
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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- When in your residence country, you can then apply for a new passport.
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!
Rio 2016 Olympics - Here's how to stay safe and enjoy them! June 11 2016, 0 Comments
The Rio 2016 Olympics are fast approaching and many have already arranged their travel plans to enjoy the games but as with all international events, precaution must be exercised by travelers. Brazil, Rio and the Olympic committee have come under criticism for allowing the games to be held in a country known for its government corruption, slums and poverty, high levels of crime and in certain areas, failing infrastructure. It has been pointed out that while the games will bring prosperity to many in the region, they are likely to endanger visitors, causing them to be targeted by those that would use the opportunity for criminal intent and that the influx of visitors would cause local authorities to become over-stretched and therefore, ineffective.
The London 2012 Olympic Games
During the Olympic games in London in 2012, cases of pickpockets rose by 20% to 1,700 per day. It was reported that gangs from Europe and South America descended on the city in the lead up to and during the games for the sole purpose of robbing unsuspecting spectators. London is a safe city on a relatively isolated island, with low levels of crime and pickpocketing and is part of a safe and prosperous region in Europe.
Brazil on the other hand shares its borders with many countries that share the same problems and, as mentioned, suffers from high levels of crime and is ranked 15th in the world for homicide rate. Besides this, the most common crimes reported in Brazil are robberies, carjackings and in-particular pickpocketing for which, the rates soar during festivals and events such as carnaval, it is also widely accepted that visitors are not only "fair game" but directly targeted by criminals. There are also currently protests in Rio over a brutal gang rape that was filmed and posted on social media emphasizing the city's continued struggle with violent crime and its apparent acceptance of the criminal culture that's strong in Rio today.
Being a travel safety company we do try to stress the importance of taking care whilst on your travels, especially with world renowned events such as the Olympics coming up. It's easy to get excited about visiting new places and neglect your own safety so we simply try to remind everyone and make it easier for travelers to keep safe! Not least through our range of Pick-Pocket proof clothing, that said, most travelers will have a great time and not run into trouble but by following our tips, you can make 100% sure you wont! You can find more tips on how to stay safe whilst traveling here and learn to spot the most common scams that are set up to rip off tourists here.