There’s no time like summertime… with barbecues, nights by the campfire, or lazy days on the beach. Traveling during the summer is one of life’s greatest luxuries, and something that many of us look forward to all year! However, traveling somewhere unfamiliar comes with risks, it is important to stay vigilant to protect yourself from fraud and theft. Your Credit Union is here to help you with five tips to make sure your travels go smoothly!
1. Purchase a Money Belt or Concealed Wallet
Pickpocketing is a fairly common method thieves use to separate tourists from their valuables. While you’re taking in the beautiful views and snapping photos, and thief can seize the opportunity and make off with your wallet. To counter this, consider purchasing a money belt or a concealed wallet. Money belts are like flat versions of a fanny pack, but instead they’re worn under your shirt. This helps keep your valuables out of thieves view, and since they are worn, they’re far more difficult to make off with than a loose wallet in your pocket. If a money belt feels too bulky for you, purchase a concealed wallet. These are wallets that can be clipped onto the inside of your pants, and are a great light weight solution to combat pickpockets.
2. Less is More
Avoid the temptation to bring all of the cards you own. Instead, limit how many you bring. Traveling with too many cards makes it more difficult to realize if something goes amiss. Additionally, keep your cards separate while traveling. For instance, you can leave a card locked in you hotel room safe when venturing around your destination. The only thing worse than having a credit card stolen is having all your cards stolen at once–stranding you with no means of accessing your money. This also helps for monitoring your card activity to detect all forms of fraud, as you may not have direct security notifications enabled on all your cards. Choose a few cards, and leave the rest at home. You’ll thank yourself later.
3. Learn How to Spot Scams and Skimmers
An unfortunate and age-old truth about travel is that there will always be those looking to take advantage of you. For instance, taxi drivers may take “the long way” to your destination to inflate the price of your trip. Check the route to your destination in advance to assure they’re sticking to the direct route. Also, be mindful where you keep your luggage. If possible, don’t put it in the trunk. Some people have suffered from instances of cab drivers leaving with the luggage still in their trunk the moment they drop you off. Another type of scam you may encounter are skimmers. Skimming is the act of using a machine to record someone’s credit card data with just a swipe. This can happen without you even realizing it while making a purchase. It’s important to not let your card out of your sight when possible. Only dine and shop at reputable restaurants and stores. Though it’s likely you already have a card with a microchip in it, if not, ask your financial institution since the microchip makes skimming more difficult for potential thieves. Additionally, if you’re traveling to Europe you will have to have a card with a microchip as many places in EU don’t accept cards without them. Scams will always be a concern for travelers, but being cautious can keep you ahead of the scammers.
4. Always Keep Your Card on You or Locked Up
Fraud and theft can happen in an instant. As such, always keep your card on your person or locked in a safe. While traveling from destination to destination, do not leave credit cards in checked luggage. On the beach or at the pool, make sure your card is not left with your things while you swim. If possible, purchase a waterproof bad you can take in the water. Additionally, do not leave a card unsecured in your hotel room as cleaning staff have free access to enter. Most hotel rooms have a safe, but if yours does not, speak to the front desk staff to see if they have a hotel safe or lockers where you can secure your card when not in use.
5. Contact Your Credit Union before Traveling
Planning to travel this summer using your Credit Union VISA Platinum Credit Card or Debit Card? Before your departure, remember to call Member Services or the VISA Department at 410-828-4730 or 1-800-234-4730. Give them the dates and places you’ll be visiting when traveling. The Credit Union can take steps to safeguard your account from fraud. Did you know, for added safety, certain countries are “blocked” from transactions using Credit and Debit Cards? View VISA Security a list of the current blocked countries. You can also ask us to have your card(s) excluded from the block when traveling abroad.
Avoid Fraud When Traveling Abroad with Baltimore County Employees Federal Credit Union!
Travel is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Having a credit card stolen can be the exact opposite. However, staying vigilant can help you stay safe while abroad. Your Credit Union hopes you found this information beneficial and wishes you safe travels as you enjoy your vacation destinations!