Thieves explain why luggage locks are useless

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Your bags are packed and you have valuable jewellery, camera and tablet, nice clothes, expensive shoes and important documents safely packed away behind that fancy lock for your luggage. Only, according to experts, that lock for your luggage is now useless.

Recently, several tech websites published 3D printing plans for the TSA master keys used by airport security to unlock any suspicious looking luggage. Basically, would-be thieves could print these keys and access any luggage lock ever made.

One cheeky bugger even made a video showing people how easy it was to use these keys to unlock what were very secure (and expensive) bag locks.

But even without these keys, thieves say all they need is a ballpoint pen to unlock your luggage.

As explained in WonderHowTo, a thief simply moves your zips to the end of the zipper,  sticks a ballpoint pen into the zip and breaks it apart. Then, when they are done, they pull the zipper head back around and heal the zip. You won’t know your stuff is gone until you open your bag at the other end of your flight.

The only way to protect your gear when you travel is to pack it in your carry-on. Or you can invest in a hard case and high security locks.

It may pay to pop your jewellery and valuable electronics in your carry-on bag, along with all your important travel documentation.

Read more at Travel and Leisure

How do you pack your valuables? Did you know that it was so easy to break into your bag?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 8
  1. 0

    Why not purchase baggage with the 3 wheel lock system where the tabs of the zip are secured into the lock and then the bag is secure from tampering. Most of this type of baggage these days comes with a TSA (US) approved lock.

    The US is the only country I know of that want to get into your luggage without you being there. They are so nosy and there should be no way that anyone should have access to your luggage without you being there in the first place. I’ve never had any burning desire to go to the US, so I won’t ever be treated in this way.

  2. 0

    I also have no desire to travel to the US. As far as luggage goes , just don’t pack any valuables in the suitcase.If some thief wants my dirty socks and knickers good luck.
    Been lucky so far , haven’t had anything go missing.
    I never take best stuff anyway. About the only thing they could get is a bottle of duty free but i buy that when I return to OZ anyway.

    • 0

      We too had no desire to travel to the USA. On our Canadian trip we met many people from USA, dining with many on our ships and trains. They were all delightful people and as we had to go to New York to catch Qantas back to Australia we stayed in NYC for a week. It was a fantastic city, so full of life, at no time did we fell frightened or threatened, even though we rarely got back to our digs on East 23rd Street before midnight. We plan to go back sometime and see things we missed first time round. We follow the rule that we never pack anything in our checked baggage that we care so much about we couldn’t replace it. Anything we really care about stays at home. In any case in our 9 weeks away, we had no problems at all in regard to luggage. Don’t write off going to USA, from what we experienced it is a fantastic country and the people are so friendly.

  3. 0

    All locks, every lock anywhere, are useless, that’s right. They are only a camouflage to keep the honest people at bay.

  4. 0

    How many times do people have to be told NOT to put valuables in checked luggage?

  5. 0

    The ONLY place to keep valuable documents and money is in your hand luggage or handbag – and not all together in the same place either! My friend had her passport, credit cards etc. stolen recently in Venice. She lost the lot because all were in the one (purpose-designed) wallet. Your passport should be in one secure RFID wallet and worn on the body if possible, one of your credit cards and some cash in another secure RFID money belt, and balance of cash and extra credit card in the middle of your handbag, always zippered up and worn over the body and held close (Ladies) or kept in another money belt (Men). It’s a hard and expensive lesson to learn if you lose or have stolen the lot, apart from ruining your holiday. And have photocopies of your passport, credit cards, travel insurance policy etc. in your packed luggage plus scanned copies of the same onto a memory stick and carry that in your hand luggage.

    • 0

      Don’t get taken for a ride on regards to RFID wallets, bags, etc.

      If you go to any shop and look in the travel section, there are RFID blocking card holders. They can be bought from any shop from the reject shop to travel luggage shops. Check out the prices.

      If you want to make your own wallet RFID, then get silver cardboard from any good stationer, measure the inside of the wallet where the cards are (there’s usually a pocket behind the cards), and then cut out the cardboard, and put it facing the outside of the wallet when closed into the pocket, and there, you have an RFID blocking wallet.

      As for your passport, get a leather or similar cover (available on e-bay in your favourite colour), then do the same with the cardboard and put it inside the wallet cover, with the silver side facing the cover (outside), and you’ve got your passport covered.

      As for copies of your valuable items, once you’ve scanned to PDF all your cards, policies, tickets, insurance details, put them onto a mini SD card on your phone & android tablet. I don’t know much about Apple products, but there has to be a way to put them into a documents folder on your phone, Ipad, etc, as well as carrying around a memory stick. Then if your documents are stolen, then you can take your phone or android to the local Australian consulate/embassy and report the loss of your passport and apply for a replacement one.

      The only other thing that I would take with me are passport size photos no more than 3 months old.

      Always give your home contact a copy of all your important documentation.

  6. 0

    All I pack in my suitcase is clothes, ordinary average clothes. I have nothing of value because I dont need expensive stuff. On the way back all they are going to find is my washing. Hey if they want to rifle through dirty clothes and underwear let them! What they find is their problem then!



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