The secret master code that thieves use to break into hotel safes

How to keep your things safe

  • Published on

People are very aware that they need to keep their possessions safe when they travel. We know to be wary of pick pockets and hotel room thieves who prey on tourists who travel with expensive electronic goods, plenty of cash and valuable passports. One of the measures most sensible travellers take is to lock their passports, spare cash and other valuables away in their hotel room safes but, unfortunately, it now appears that the thieves have found a simple and easy way to break into those safes.


Not so Safe Safes

Have you ever experienced that sinking feeling when you go to collect your things out of the hotel safe and then realise you’ve forgotten which code you entered? Lots of people have, so hotels have a master code they can use to open the safe for you. Most hotels will set their own master code when the safes are installed but, unfortunately, there are some who don’t bother or forget or didn’t know they needed to do that, so end up staying with the default code which is usually something really simple like 9999, or 000000, or 1111. This makes it very easy for thieves to access these safes.


How to Make Safes Safer

There are a few simple measures individuals and hotels can take to make sure valuables are as safe in hotel room safes as they can be. As an individual, check that your room safe doesn’t have a default code by accessing ‘super-user mode’, usually by pressing the lock button, and typing in a few of the typical default codes. Check if the safe is properly mounted to the wall and not just the furniture. Try to avoid using easy to guess codes like your date of birth, room number or check in date. Make sure you close your room door firmly behind you every time you go out and if you’re really concerned about your goods, only book with hotels that hold a recognised Global Hotel Security Standard.

For hoteliers, they can check that none of their safes are on default codes, do regular checks to ensure doors are properly closed, have staff trained to look out for suspicious behaviour, put up security awareness signs and have rigorous security policies in place.


Other Ways to Protect your Valuables while on Holiday

The most obvious way to protect valuables on holiday is to bring as few as possible and carry as little cash as you can get away with. Another common tactic is to hide what you have in unlikely places about your person.  Most thieves will recognise the fake suntan lotion bottle you can get to hide things in but there are far more products out there where you can hide things like fake drinks cans, fake book and even hollow hair brushes. Zipped inside pockets are a god send for keeping things as safe as possible and many people wear underwear with pockets to hide emergency cash. Some people carry a fake wallet to throw thieves off too.

Whatever measures you take to protect your goods on holiday, make sure you have adequate travel insurance. ERGO offers great value travel insurance that covers everything you need and you can even buy extra cover for your valuables if necessary. Click here to begin your quote.




Louise Boxall

Louise Boxall

Louise has 10 years experience in Travel Journalism, Blog Writing and Research in the Travel Insurance sector. Louise’s goal is to provide interesting, informative articles on subjects we know will interest our customers.

I was very impressed by the level of service.

They beat the competition by a country mile! Super happy and will most certainly be buying insurance with them again.

ERGO Customer - December 2019