Here’s How You Can Dodge The Laglag Bala Scam

Written by Jan Archibald Ragos

According to the PNP-Aviation Security Group, a whopping thirty cases of alleged bullet planting were reported from January to November 2015. And while tourist and local government have become more vigilant, incidents of tanim bala continue to crop up.

Every traveller already knows what to watch out for when making their way through the airport but what about the crazier schemes like bullet planting that con artists use to launder money from tourists?

Here are some useful tips to ensure you don’t fall victim to the lag lag bala scheme.

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1. Hard case luggage

Hard case luggage are a major turn off for would be scammers as slashing their way into the tough exterior takes a significant amount of time, effort, and even unique tools.

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2. Avoid external pockets

Most bags have pockets either in the front or at the sides. The purpose of which is to give the user easy access to frequently used items such as pens, mobile phones, loose change or forms that need to be filled out for travel.

Pockets are also the most accessible place to put in bullets that will get you into trouble. So make sure you identify every pocket and seal accordingly. If you need to access your mostly used items, better to keep your essentials in a sling pouch that you can wear at all times.

3. Lock your bags and zippers

Most travel bags come equipped with built-in locks for the zippers. These bags are usually TSA-approved so that officials can easily open and inspect your bags with their special key. However not all bags carry this feature. To ensure your belongings are protected, do purchase locks to secure the zippers. Be warned though that TSA may destroy non-TSA approved locks should they feel the need to inspect your luggage.

When purchasing bags, do inspect the quality of the zippers. Try dislodging it to see if you’re able to easily force your way into the bag. Most experienced thieves only need a ballpoint pen to dislodge a zipper so it’s always best to stick to good quality, heavy duty zippers.

4. Keep your belongings close to you

If you need to go to the washroom, do ask your companions to watch your stuff. Asking others to watch your belongings however is still not a foolproof way to protect your items. With the many things going on, one can easily lose sight of things. Before you know it, illegal objects such as bullets have already been inserted into your luggage.

5. Avoid oversized pockets

The less pockets you have on you, the less chance you have of falling prey to the tanim bala scheme. To be safe, steer clear from oversized pockets and do make sure to check your pockets every so often.

Lastly, keep your eyes open. It only takes a moment to insert something. We’ve all heard stories of bullet-planting incidents while baggage went through x-ray machines. So do keep your eyes open and alert. Travelling to a new place is always exciting. But do try your best to not get caught up in all that excitement. Travel smart. You don’t have to be overly paranoid or suspicious throughout your whole trip, but it would do you good to keep your eyes peeled for these things.

Bonus Tip: Know if your bag is a carry-on or not. Click here.

Don’t want your friends and loved ones to fall victim to this scheme? Help by sharing this article! Got any other anti-bullet planting tips? Feel free to share them in the Comments section below.

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