Hotel and Travel Theft - How To Prevent It
What is Hotel Theft and How to Identify It
Oh, Oh, I know the answer to this one!
I'm not talking about when someone (like Godzilla below) picks up a hotel and runs away with it and swims back into the Pacific Ocean with it under his arm. No, not that kind of hotel theft and nothing against Godzilla - we love that ill-tempered giant lizard with a habit for thrashing North America and Japan from time to time.
Instead, we're talking about the unsuspecting traveler that pays their hard earned money to stay in a hotel and ends up leaving with less than they came with.
Hotel theft is defined like this:
When some miserable bastard, or bastardette, rummages through your personal belongings and takes something from you that does not belong to them.
How to identify hotel theft:
When you come back from your day at Disneyland and everything except your dirty laundry has been taken by some miserable bastard, or bastardette, while you were out having fun with your friends and family.
The bottom line about hotel theft:
Excuse our French in our definitions above but that is the easiest way to define hotel theft. I mean, C'mon, you're either traveling because:
- (1) you're on a business trip and you have no other choice.
- (2) or, you're on vacation with your family or friends (or both) and you're spending your hard earned money on a nice hotel and place to wash your behind at the end of the day.
...And then, as if you haven't worked your rear end off all year just to take this trip, some low-life minimum wager working at the hotel decides they need your stuff more than you do.
Yes, you're busy singing "It's A Small World" with your kids and taking pictures to last a lifetime while some loser is digging through the files on your laptop or prying open your suitcase back in your $300 a day room.
Go ahead, try this out....We dare you to not get angry! (or laugh)
Watch the video below, sing the happy song, feel all of the joy and laughter that you can from this HD video - and then
- in the back of your mind - imagine a non-English speaking person who's job is to clean your room
- imagine them ripping through your luggage, your toiletry bag, your privacy in general...
- imagine them running around the room in your underwear
- and trying to hack into your laptop hoping that they can access your bank account
Try this and run that through your mind as you watch the video below:
That's what hotel theft is all about (your personal privacy being invaded while you're on vacation and maxing out your credit cards) and that is why you need to STOP AT NOTHING to catch the culprits red-handed.
Trust us, if you can catch employees stealing from you in a major hotel chain - you'll literally own a piece of the company and they'll either bend over backwards to keep you happy (and quiet) - or you'll walk away with enough money from your lawsuit to pay for your next 100 vacations.
Why is Hotel Theft so easy to get away with?
Well, because they've got you right where they want you - that's why! You see, you've already paid them in advance for your stay, but then they really pour it on by not doing thorough background checks and hiring finely selected scumbags to clean and straighten up your room.
Don't get offended, we're not saying that every cleaning lady or maintenance man at every hotel is an outright thief. But we are saying that if by chance, by luck, or if the Gods above deem it as so - and you wind up with a crook for your cleaning lady...or cleaning person...then you'd better have a way to keep eyes on your stuff while you're out having fun - or it just might be GONE when you get back.
Listen to this guy, who calls himself the "Hobo Traveler." Basically, he travels a lot more than most people and you can see that he's absolutely frustrated with the fact that there really isn't a way to protect your personal belongings once you leave your hotel room for the day.
In the video, he brings up some really good points about how EASY it is for a hotel to flick a switch and lock you out of your own room (that you've reserved - have paid for and are living in), but that there is no way for YOU to lock unwanted people out of your room.
In fact, many times (he even says this in the video above) you can leave the "Do Not Disturb" or "No House Cleaning - Please" sign on your door knob and they will still come into your room.
You have to remember that in any case where "you're not there" - it will always be "your word against theirs" and they will always have an excuse, a reason, or even a fellow co-worker that will vouch that "Sally the cleaning lady never entered your room for any reason."
Here, in this next video, you'll see the "Hobo Traveler" at it again. But this time he's trying to use a make-shift spy device that will let him know when someone opens the door to his room. Yes, he's using a common zip tie to stick in the door jam and then when the door is opened it will fall to the floor.
But what he's totally missing here is that HE STILL DOES NOT HAVE ANY PROOF of "who" went into his room or "what exactly" they were doing in there. Check out the video for yourself (below):
Hotel Theft Exposed: How do you get proof or evidence?
Well, for starters, if you're going to get proof or evidence about hotel theft that concerns your personal belongings you'll have to start by realizing that:
- They're not going to steal anything if you're there
- If you quickly open up the door to try and catch them - they'll be busy cleaning something
- They're probably careful to put things back just the way they were when you left
- They will probably wear gloves or use a cleaning solvent to wipe away their finger prints
- If they're stealing from you - it's probably not their first time
- You're going to have to be smarter about this than they are
- You'll have to act very normal and relaxed around them or they just might not try it
- There may me more than one person involved so they can give each other alibis
- The situation may get violent if you really catch them in the act and they know they will lose their job or go to jail
Keeping those things in mind - we'll start showing you the products we would use - and we DO USE - each and every time that we travel or use a hotel. I don't care if it is for one day, one weekend, or for an entire week...You'd better believe that when a Spy-Tronix staff person or employee travels - we leave our rooms under full surveillance at all times.
While we can't specifically say the hotel by name, (although it starts with an "H" - is a major international chain - and is located all over the world) we have an order processor on staff that caught two cleaning personnel working together and rummaging through his family's belongings, suit cases, and one of them even tried to turn on his laptop computer to see what kind of information was on it.
Here's the results of what an inexpensive desk clock camera did for him:
- He caught two hotel cleaning personnel red-handed in his room
- He showed the video to the hotel management at the front desk
- He called the local police and filed a police report at the front desk
- His family now has a "Gold Pass" with this hotel chain - FOR LIFE
- He can stay at this hotel chain FOR FREE whenever and where ever he is - for up to 30 days out of the year and every year for the rest of his life!
That's not bad for a little bit of diligence and an $80 spy camera! Although we still think he should have taken them to court and had them settle on a much larger sum, but he's happy with his decision and all of us wish we could stay in a 5-star hotel for free 30 days out of every year...so he didn't do too bad.
Like we say, our spy cameras more than pay for themselves the very first time you get the results that you need!
Hotel Theft Stopper #1: Hidden Desk Clock - Alarm Clock
Here's the direct link to our Mini Desk Clock Hidden Spy Camera on our site - or you can click on an image above.
Sure, it looks fairly innocent in the first picture, but then when you see that it has a hidden side cover that slips away to expose the controls, USB port, power switch, and SD Card slot - then you start to see the power of this little clock camera. Then, in the next image you see that it comes with a remote control that can be used to start, stop, or switch recording modes - you'll see why this little camera is one of our top sellers of all times.
You can charge it with your computer's USB port or buy an optional charger that allows you to charge it from any wall socket. Then, slide back the side cover and turn the power ON. Use the remote control to turn on Motion Activated Recording and then leave the room. The camera will remain on standby for a long time, but when it detects motion - it silently begins to record video with audio.
When the motion stops, the camera will go back into "sleep mode" where it waits for new motion or activity to record. Why is it such a great tool for traveling security - because many travelers have their own alarm clock of some kind. Yes, there's usually a digital clock in most hotel rooms, but they're dirty, sticky, you don't know who's been touching it, and you sure as heck don't want to take the time to learn how to set the alarm. You can't afford to set it incorrectly and then be late for your meeting or miss your family's scheduled breakfast with Mickey and Goofy - the kids will kill you!
So, yes, hotel employees think nothing of it when they enter your room to clean it and they see this small travel clock staring back at them. But little do they know that it is recording their every move. You can quickly see the power of a little hidden camera - so let's take a break and show you what happens to your personal belongings right when you start your vacation.
Checked-In Luggage Theft - Thieves in your suitcase!
Let's take a small break from the security gear we're showing you and give you a little reminder of what happens before you even get your luggage to your hotel room. Yes, you're right, you've got to get your checked in luggage past the thieves that are putting it on and off of your airplane carrier as you begin your vacation or small trip.
Here's a "Holy Crap" moment - Watch this Suitcase Theft Video
So, what this video is showing you - is that even if you do get your luggage past the thugs that are handling it at the airport and the corrupt TSA agents that are patting you down - you still can get ripped off when you lock your suitcases and leave them in your hotel room.
The video above proves that even if you take all precautions and lock up your suitcases each time you leave your hotel room - someone who is even half of a thief can get in and out of your carry-on suitcases without you ever noticing.
We gave you a problem - now watch this video (below) to see one of the cures...
Top 8 TSA Theft Google Search Results
9. Here's a bonus link that you've probably never seen before - The TSA Blog
10. Here's a bonus link to the Top 20 Airports for Theft on ABC News
Another way to prevent Hotel Theft and Stop Thieves
...is to hide your valuables in something that they'd never think to look in. This article from USA Today talks about theft in hotels and while traveling. They also mention a product that we sell on our site - "Diversion Safes" or Hidden Safes.
A diversion safe is something that looks like another normal or common object, but it is in fact - empty inside. Hollowing out the inside of a normal object allows you the ability to hide something in that empty space that has been created.
This is what USA Today says about our diversion and hidden safes:
"Step 3 / Purchase a diversion safe and use it. Diversion safes are "trick" versions of everyday objects, such as shaving cream cans, which have empty interiors in which you can store cash and jewelry. They are inconspicuous objects that are commonly seen in any hotel room, and they have convincing weight to them, in case a would-be thief should pick them up and move them while tidying up the room.
Use one or more of these safes and keep them where you would keep the original object, such as a toiletry bag, to hide your money from thieves in a hurry."
Now remember, this is U.S.A. Today talking about the same problem we are - the only difference is that they don't have these items for you - they can only talk about them. So, without further delay, we'll show you a few of our top selling diversion safes below.
Our diversion and hidden safes are weighted to feel like the object would normally feel if someone lifted it up. In other words, the Sprite can below has built in weight around the edges to make it feel like a full can of soda.
See all of our hidden and diversion safes here.
Take a look at these PacSafe Anti-theft Backpacks.
What about Do-It-Yourself Hidden Spy or Security Cameras?
Yes, you bet, we use these as well and they make the job of guarding your hotel room very easy. By "Do-it-yourself" hidden cameras, we mean cameras that have everything included in one nice little package. You simply plug them into a wall and they start recording on the spot, most of them are motion activated, and they save the video directly into the camera's memory.
Now, there are a few hidden cameras that do not need to be plugged into a wall to operate. We call these our "Xtreme Life Cameras" because the batteries last a long time compared to other second rate security cameras on the market.
1. The Sony Dream Machine Hidden Camera
This is a great and easy to use hidden alarm clock radio camera. It's small enough to carry with you on vacation and you simply plug it into the wall when you get inside your hotel room. Aim it where you want it to record and it will capture motion activated video for weeks on end if you need it to.
2. Our Hidden Wall Charger - Power Adapter Spy Camera:
3. Our Portable Air Freshener Hidden Camera
Can you say Sweeeet? What better to bring with you to liven up the musty hotel room than a simple and portable room air freshener? That's right, it's portable and it records in HD video for up to about 8 hours with an even longer standby time. It's fully motion activated and it blends in with any hotel room. Check it out.
4. Our Wall Outlet Hidden Spy and Security Camera
This easy to use camera functions the same way as our other "plug-in" (or wall power) type cameras above. Once you plug it into the wall, it will record motion activated color video for weeks on end if you need it to. It can fit in your carry on or checked-in luggage and you simply plug-it into the wall when you get to your hotel room. Make sure to aim it right and then you can watch your recorded video when you get back to the hotel room later in the day.
and 5. Our portable USB Flash Drive Voice Recorder + Camera
This is a fully portable and easy to hide mini camera that is built into a standard flash memory drive stick. A full battery charge can give you up to about 4.5 hours of video recording - so it's better for short trips out of the hotel room when you'll be returning in a few hours. It fits in the palm of your hand, in your pocket, your purse, and you can hide it just about anywhere. Just aim it where you need it, power it ON, press the record button, and come back to check the video later.
10 Helpful Tips: How to Reduce Hotel Theft
1. Hide your valuables when checking in. Don't make a big display of showing large amounts of cash, jewelry and laptops to hotel staff or strangers who may be lurking in the lobby.
2. Be discreet with your belongings. Turn diamond rings and watches around to the palm side of your hand and don't wear expensive jewelry in common areas such as lobbies and snack bars.
3. Pay with a credit card instead of showing a large amount of cash. The bottom line is that if thieves don't think you have a lot to steal, they are less likely to try to steal from your room.
4. Use the room safe, even if you're only going to be leaving the room for a short time. Store your laptop, jewelry, extra cash and passports in the safe at all times, and only remove them when you plan to use them. Make a habit of returning valuables directly into the safe as soon as you are done with them, and locking the door.
5. Set the safe's passcode to an unusual number, like your home address number. Potential thieves will quickly try codes such as 1234 and 0000, hoping to get lucky in clearing out your room.
6. Diversion safes are "trick" versions of everyday objects, such as shaving cream cans, which have empty interiors in which you can store cash and jewelry. They are inconspicuous objects that are commonly seen in any hotel room, and they have convincing weight to them, in case a would-be thief should pick them up and move them while tidying up the room. Buy them at Spy-Tronix and spoil yourself while keeping your valuables protected.
7. Be discreet when you are leaving so housekeeping staff is never sure when the room is empty. Do not hang up a door sign indicating that you want the room to be made up. This is a sure sign to thieves that a room is empty.
8. When you leave the room, hang up a "Do Not Disturb" sign and leave the television or radio playing. There will be less chance of a thief entering, looking for an empty room, and you can always call housekeeping later when you return to the room.
9. Take everything with you that absolutely cannot be replaced. If you are traveling out of the country, keep your passport with you on your person. Use body wallets or keep these valuable objects in front pockets.
and 10. Keep only enough cash with you for one or two days. It's a rare vacation spot that doesn't have an ATM nearby, so getting more cash every day or two is relatively easy. Smaller amounts of cash are less tempting targets for would-be thieves. Follow common-sense safety rules when using these ATMs, such as using the machine in daylight, and making sure that no one is around to see your PIN.
Top 10 Google Searches for Hotel Theft
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