The holiday season is upon us and South Africans are all looking forward to a well-deserved break. Criminals, however, are never on leave and are always scouting for the next opportunity to separate you from your hard-earned cash and valuables.

“Cell phones, tablets, cameras, wallets, jewellery, sunglasses and even accessories like beach chairs and umbrellas offer valuable pickings for criminals who would like to make a quick buck”, says Elmarie Twilley, spokesperson for Virseker. “This could see your holiday going from delight to disaster in no time.”

Virseker offers the following tips to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Back to basics: Only take what you need. Don’t take a wallet with credit cards and cash, or your whole handbag with other valuable possessions and documents, if only the odd R200 and beach essentials will do.


  • Safe and sound: Make use of the public safes available at many holiday hotspots.


  • Location, location, location: Pick a spot close to the life guards or beach patrol, as this is a deterrent for would-be criminals. If you drive to the beach, park your car in a well-guarded area.


  • Keep your eyes peeled: Keep your valuables in your sight at all times – never tucked under your chair or behind you.


  • Don’t “advertise”: don’t leave your valuables out in the open, or in a bag that is not properly closed.


  • Keep your valuables company: Never leave any valuables unattended.


  • Kit out: Invest in anti-theft beach bags, gadgets like the a waterproof pouch that you can take with you into the water.


  • Swim in shifts: Take turns going to the water, so that someone is always there to keep an eye on valuables.


  • Stranger danger: Be wary of strangers who randomly talk to you, or bump into you in a crowd, as they may be trying to distract you from your valuables being taken behind your back.


  • Friend request: Get to know the people who are sitting around you so that you know who they are and can confidently ask them to look after your valuables if need be, and also so that you can tell when someone scouting around their spot doesn’t belong there.


“Many South Africans are looking forward to just switching off for a while, but it’s imperative to always keep your guard up, whether you are at the beach, the riverside or elsewhere”, concludes Twilley. “In the event that crime does get its dirty claws into you this holiday season, it’s wise to have adequate portable possessions insurance in place so that you can be up and running again in no time!”


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