Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Coke bottle ploy

Richard carried on, giving us more tips on personal safety. He told us about how to stay safe in a car park garage. First, make sure you’re not being followed. (Is this all starting to sound really familiar?)

Walk all the way around your car, checking both sides, in case someone is hiding on the passenger side, waiting for you to unlock the doors so he can jump in. Check to make sure your license plates are still attached -- a classic ploy is for a thief to unscrew your front plate and leave it on the carpark floor in front of your car. You back out, and oops! You see that your plate has fallen off. You get out to pick it up, leaving the car door open and the keys in the ignition, probably, and oops! Your car is gone! Ha ha!

Or another trick. A thief puts an empty plastic Coke bottle just behind your wheel. You back up, and “pop!” You think you’re tyre has popped, and, yes, you get out to check, and yes, Oops! Your car is gone! Ha ha!

And then there were some safety tips for ATM machines. Obviously, cover the number pad when you enter your pin number. In fact, when you first approach the ATM, check to make sure it hasn’t been tampered with. Insert your card, and then immediately press “Cancel”. Your card should pop right out again. Re-insert the card and complete your transaction. If the card doesn’t pop out upon cancellation, the ATM may have been rigged to keep your card. You would have entered your pin number numerous times, and finally called the help line phone. Meanwhile, the next “customer” would have surreptitiously fished out your card with sticky tape while you were on the phone, and has memorized your pin number already. Soon money is flying out of your bank account, to Nigeria.

Oh maaaa gawd. We all had to take a tea break. We all stood up on trembling legs and tried to look calm and relaxed.

The best was yet to come.

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