Credit Cards by 401(K) 2012, CC
A couple weeks ago, a good friend of mine was a victim of bank fraud. So this week I asked the question, "How do you protect yourself from bank fraud when traveling or living abroad?" Travel bloggers from around the globe took the time out to share with us some of their personal tips.
*Link-up your own travel-tip blog posts at the end of the post!
My Favorite Tip to Avoid Bank Fraud!
As usual, all of the advice given was useful and applicable, however one of them really stood out to me, not only because of its practicality, but also because it gives us all a reality check!
from The Traveluster
says, "I was the victim of credit card fraud in South Africa last year. American Express put an immediate hold on my card and contacted me via email and voicemail then later refunded all charges (over $4,000 in a few days!). 1) If you are at a restaurant in a foreign country, don't let the waiter walk off with your card. Insist that they scan and charge your card in front of you (or pay with cash if they don't have a portable machine). This is what happened to me. A waiter took my card and made a physical copy then proceeded to use it all around South African stores. I heard later that this was becoming a common problem there. I identified the restaurant and date and let AmEx know. 2) Always travel with at least two cards. My AmEx was disabled for the duration of my time in Africa (another 30 days after the fraudulent activity). I would have been stuck without a credit card if I hadn't brought two. I had my bank debit card as well. Most credit card companies are pretty good about alerting you when there is suspicious activity."
When I first read this post, the only thing I could say was, "Wow!" The thought of even possibly losing that much money is unthinkable. I'm glad that Lindsay was able to recover, however, and even came out with a couple of useful tips to share from that experience.
Old Cards Shredded Up by David Huang, CC
But What About Tips From Other Globe Drifters?
How do they protect themselves from bank fraud while traveling or living abroad?
I took the time to ask a few of my fellow travel bloggers and expats for their thoughts and suggestion on this, and they gave me some great insight into their very own "smart travel" drifter tips.
Tips on From Other Travelers on How to Avoid Bank Fraud
from Bemused Backpacker
says, "There are a couple of extra things to be aware of but mostly it is simple common sense, as long as you have that and you are vigilant and alert, there is no reason to be overly paranoid. I only keep a credit card on me to use as an extra emergency back up fund and I would never let a vendor take it out of my hands or my sight if I ever had to use it (those cloning scams are very quick). I use my debit card (from a separate bank) to get cash out of ATM's (again being careful that the ATM is genuine and has not been tampered with) and simply use cash for any and all transactions. If I ever have to buy a plane ticket over the internet for example I am wary of things like phishing or keystroke logging software in general internet cafe's. Basically all the things you would normally do at home. It is also a good idea to have your bank/credit card overseas contact number stored in your phone if you need to contact them (which you should do fairly regularly) and always let their fraud department know where/when you will be travelling so they don't cancel your cards if you try and use them."
| | Diana
says, "I set up alerts delivered daily to my inbox that shows my account balance, and also update my bank about my whereabouts. The emails really help me monitor my account since I don't remember to log-on and check it regularly."
| | Prince Erick
from Minority Nomad
says, "I have alerts on my account that triggers text and emails for when a transaction is over a certain amount. Also I inform my bank when I'm in a new country. If I don't my fraud department is set to question every third transaction from a new country. I also use VPNs to protect my log in info."
says, "I've learned many tricks for mitigating the risk of fraud and/or loss of funds while bouncing around the globe for the past 30+ years. But probably the single most effective tip I can share is to... Never, but NEVER
rely on a just a single credit/debit card when you're traveling or living abroad! I wouldn't dream of traveling without at least two, and ideally three different debit cards – and here's the key: each from a DIFFERENT BANK. Split your funds among the multiple accounts. That way, if one of your accounts is compromised, and/or you lose your card, it gets stolen, or your bank decides to freeze your account due to suspected fraud activity (because you uh, neglected to advise them of your dash into Myanmar - another financial travel tip), you still have one or two other cards you can use (to keep a roof over your head and feed your face daily) until you can sort out the issue with the problem card. Think about it. When you're on the trail: no money, seriously no funny."
| | Nikki
from Out Abroad
says, "I use a credit union so I have a good relationship with my bank (and fewer fees!). Before I leave, I meet with a rep, tell them my travel plans and ask if they have any advice. They'll note in my account all of my travels. I get their business card with direct contact information if there's ever a problem. This is especially good for long term travelers."
| | Christine
from Food Wine Travel
says, "I carry my passport and cards in RFID sleeves, inside a slash-proof shoulder bag that has RFID pockets. RFID blocking material helps prevent electronic pickpocketing and identity theft. I'm vigilant about always clutching my bag tightly, and never, repeat never, put it down on the ground next to me or slung over the back of a chair."
from Going Nomadic
says, "I have 2 bank accounts with 2 debit cards. The cards are only linked to a single acct. They are both out of the same bank, but if someone got their hands on one card, they can't only get money out of 1 acct. I keep a main account and a secondary account.
When i need money, i transfer a little into the secondary account and go to the bank. My main bank card only comes out when I am moving places. Otherwise it stays at home/hostel/hotel safe with my passport. I also will only put a travel advisory on the secondary card sometimes, so any foreign transaction on the main card will alert the bank. (They even just contacted me after I bought 3 tickets at once, less than $300USD, on Colombian airlines last week and forgot to tell them).
The last thing I do is I have a bank (Schwab) that specifically deals with travelers, expats, etc. They are easy to contact anywhere in the world (will even accept a foreign collect call), can ship new bank cards anywhere in the world, and really does watch your transactions."
| | Talon
says, "Only use ATMs physically connected to a bank. Double check that the card reader isn't wobbly and don't use if it is. Always cover your hand when entering your PIN. If your bank offers it, sign up for emails any time the card or account is used. This allows you to be immediately notified of fraudulent activity."
| | Marielle
from Blazing Speed of Light Machines
says, "I only carry cards whose numbers I have memorized. I get email alerts for unusual activity, and make sure I have the customer service numbers written down somewhere. And I try not to use them too often and carry cash. Which has its own problems, but I'd rather risk losing a bit in my pocket than my identity."
And Now It's Time For YOU to Share Your Travel Tip Posts!
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