MONEY magazine advises travelers to be aware of becoming the victim of robbers while the road.
In its Travel Wise column the magazine advises people how they can avoid rip-offs when they travel.Here are examples of "engineered mishaps" staged by robbers in airports, theaters and other crowded places.
- A stranger spills ketchup on your suit and as you or he wipes it off, he lifts your wallet or your luggage.
- A "nice guy" offers to snap a picture of you and your family. As you back up, he disappears with your camera.
- A pedestrian jumps in front of your car and falls down. When you get out to help him, he gets in and drives off.
The magazine makes these suggestions for hotel safety:
- If you think others may have heard the desk clerk announce your room number when he gives you the key, demand another room.
- Call the front desk for verification when a caller asks you to leave your room. It could be a crook's ruse.
- If you use the hotel safe, be aware that the hotel's liability under the law of its state could be as low as $50.
- If a clerk makes an imprint of your credit card when you check in, but you pay in cash, be certain the imprint is destroyed. An employee could pocket your cash and put the bill on your card.
- Leave the numbers of your passport, credit cards and travelers checks at home just in case you need to replace them in a hurry.
According to U.S. News & World Report, nearly 32 million Americans have no health insurance.
States with the highest percentages of uninsured are:
New Mexico: 23 percent.
Arkansas: 22 percent.
Texas: 21 percent.
Florida, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Arizona: 18 percent.
Nevada, Louisiana, California: 17 percent.
Calling all bonds
With interest rates headed toward their lowest level in years, companies and state and local governments are going on a refunding binge - paying off their high-yield bonds early and replacing them with lower-yielding debt, notes Changing Times, the Kiplinger magazine.
If you own a bond subject to early call - and most bonds are - be prepared to reinvest. A good area to investigate: mortgage securities such as Ginnie Maes, now yielding around 9 percent.