Earlier this month, Kim Kardashian West was robbed at gunpoint in the middle of the night in Paris. She was reportedly tied up and terrified, but physically unharmed. The perpetrators got away with close to $10 million in jewelry, and photos of West returning home did not display her famous 20-carat diamond ring – or even the 15-carat one.

When the news broke, it sent shock waves around the world. How could this happen? Where was her security?

It’s not uncommon for the ultra rich to keep their financial data under wraps and invest in high-end security systems, but many overlook the security risks posed by staff and travel, notes The Wall Street Journal. And someone famous for owning fabulous jewels – and wearing them – is even more at risk. 

Unfortunately, someone in the Kardashian camp dropped the ball and this terrifying incident will remain etched in her mind for years to come. It's also a reminder that even those who take extreme measures to protect themselves can be victimized. In Kardashian's case, the robbery took place at the Hotel de Pourtales, famous in Paris as the "no address hotel," a favorite of celebrities like Madonna, Leonardo DiCaprio and Prince, according to Business Insider. West's bodyguard, having escorted her home, was supposedly out guarding other family members.

Even the Kardashians needed more guards, it seems. Here are some ways the rich can fill potential staff and travel security gaps to protect themselves: 

Minimizing Staff Security Risks

Conduct Regular Background Checks

In most instances, household staff are required to undergo extensive interviews and background checks before their first day on the job. But to be safe, consider conducting periodic background checks of existing staff to confirm that no criminal activity has slipped into their personal life. Once someone is connected to a high-profile individual, that person can also become a target of criminals.

Require Confidentiality Agreements.

From security guards and cooks to nannies, all household staff should be required to sign confidentiality agreements. 

Implement a Social Media Policy for Household Staff

Social media provides a glimpse into the lives of others, including the ultra rich. For that reason, some high-profile individuals are very selective about what they post. But what about their staff, particularly those who work in the home? All it takes is one image or status update to deliver valuable information to criminals. Be especially careful to keep photos of children private. Some families provide staff with work phones and ban photos of the family and premises on staffers' personal phones. That will allow a nanny to share photos of the children within the family, but not outside it.

Minimizing Travel Security Risks

Stay Under the Radar 

Visibly wealthy individuals are targets. Stow valuables in a safe – or leave them at home and wear costume jewelry. And unless you're traveling by private jet, pack belongings in neutral luggage that doesn't call attention to itself. 

Don’t Skimp on Security

If the word gets out that a high-profile individual is staying in a particular hotel, expect the lobby to be swarmed in a matter of hours, if not minutes. Ideally the hotel will have a private entrance so vulnerable guests can duck the paparazzi.

Another expensive but valuable deterrent is a "halls and walls guy," as security expert Devin Tullis told Business Insider – a security guard who monitors the door of the room or suite where the guest is staying. The security conscious will also sweep the space for bugs and hidden cameras, and monitor every delivery and housekeeping visit.

The best hotel locations have the fewest possible entrances and exits that might let someone slip into the premises. And, of course, they have a safe for valuables. 

Switch Up the Schedule

Following the same routine every day is an open invitation to thieves and stalkers. This is actually not just about travel: Knowing when an individual visits the gym or where they have their hair cut is broadcasting when that person might be alone or have their guard down and be vulnerable to robbery. Famously wealthy people must also consider the risk of being kidnapped. There’s ransom insurance to help recoup any losses, but that doesn't prevent the terror that comes first (also see A Guide to Kidnap & Ransom Insurance Coverage). 

There’s no guarantee that the even the ultra rich can completely eliminate the risk of being held up at gunpoint or kidnapped, but taking these precautions will minimize the chances.

 

 

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