Avoid being an innocent victim abroad

How can I avoid identity theft while traveling?

Identity theft experts suggest putting only your name and cellphone number on your luggage. Also, don't leave your airline ticket stub lying around. The stub can tell a thief your name and the dates you will be away from home.

What if I'm the victim of a crime abroad?

Contact the local police and the Bureau of Consular Affairs, Overseas Citizens Services, at the nearest U.S. consular offices or embassy. The bureau can help you file a crime report, recover a lost or stolen passport, contact family members and get you in touch with an English-speaking lawyer, among other services. Consular duty personnel are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. From the U.S., call (888) 407-4747; from overseas, call (202) 501-4444.

What should I do if I'm being kidnapped?

If the kidnapping is attempted in public, the U.S. State Department recommends that you make as much noise as possible to draw attention to yourself. If you are forced into a vehicle, try to make mental notes of the route, the turns and other landmarks during your abduction. Remain calm and try not to antagonize your abductors.

Which hotel rooms are the most vulnerable to crime?

Try to avoid checking into ground-floor rooms that open to a pool area or a beach with sliding-glass doors and window access.

What should I do after I check into a hotel?

Ask the bellman to open the room, turn lights on and check the room to ensure that it is vacant and ready for your stay. Before dismissing the bellman, always inspect the room's locks and security.

What if I'm arrested abroad?

The State Department suggests you do not sign anything or volunteer any information until you have spoken with a representative of the U.S. consulate or embassy.

What if I lose my passport?

Before you leave, make copies of your itinerary and passport data and leave them with friends. If you lose your passport, contact the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the nearest U.S. consulate office or embassy or call (202) 501-4444. Remember, some countries won't let you in if your passport expires in fewer than six months. Those countries include Brazil, Ecuador, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Paraguay and Singapore.

How should I prepare for a medical emergency?

Carry a list with your blood type, allergies, medical conditions and special requirements. If you have unusual medical conditions, wear a medical alert bracelet to advise emergency workers of your special needs.

What should I do before I leave this country?

Check with the State Department, Bureau of Consular Affairs, for any travel warnings or other conditions that you should be aware of, at www.travel.state.gov.

What's the safest way to get from the airport to the hotel?

Try to use a hotel shuttle van to get to and from your hotel. These vans tend to be more reliable and less expensive than taxis.

How can I avoid pickpockets?

Pickpockets and other thieves like to strike victims who are using public telephones, waiting in lines or hanging around inside bars and restaurants. In those settings, be aware of people around you and keep your valuables in your grasp. If you are giving out your credit-card number over the phone, make sure no one is close enough to hear.

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