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Tips to Avoiding Credit Card Fraud While Traveling Abroad

 

We came across an article this morning on Marketwatch.com by Maria Lamagna that had some great tips on preventing credit card fraud while you are traveling abroad. We thought we would pass them on to you…

Bring some cash with you on your trip. Make a visit to your local bank before your trip to convert your cash into the foreign currency or you can convert it at the airport upon your arrival.

If you must use an ATM, it is better to use one at a bank than on the street or another non-financial institution. Examine the ATM before using it for any abnormalities. If the card reader appears not to fit, has glue on it or it is chipped it may be a “skimmer”.

Use credit cards instead of debit cards. Credit cards usually have built in protection for fraud and the credit card company can dispute the charges for you. With a debit card, cash is immediately withdrawn from your account and it can take longer for the funds to be returned to you.

Use mobile payments when you can. Transactions with services like Apple Pay use a tokenization method when making payments. This means that a new token is issued for each transaction instead of transmitting the actual credit card number making the payment more secure.

Avoid using public Wi-Fi as much as possible. Although it may be tempting to log in at the local café to save on data use it is very dangerous and an easy way for hackers to get your personal information. You should also change your password before and after traveling.

Check your account activity often. Look out for any transactions that look out of the norm so you can catch any fraudulent activity quickly. Many banks and credit cards now offer monitoring alerts that you can customize and be notified when an unusual transaction occurs.

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New Trends in Credit Card Fraud

 

In a recent article released by AARP and written by Sid Kirchheimer, he writes about the new trends in credit card fraud. With the new chip-enabled EMV cards it is now harder for identity thieves to clone counterfeits of the existing plastic cards. Instead they are focusing on opening new fraudulent accounts with stolen Social Security numbers and other sensitive data. Javelin Strategy & Research reported in its 2016 Identity Fraud Study that new-account fraud more than doubled in 2015 from the previous year.

Here are a few tips on how to protect yourself:

1.Get a credit freeze. Once enacted, a credit (also known as a security) freeze restricts access to your credit report, which creditors check before issuing new financial or service accounts in your name. Without seeing your report, creditors won’t approve accounts to ID thieves posing as you. A freeze must be placed with each of the three major credit-reporting bureaus — typically free for those 65 and older (state laws vary) — and can be unthawed when you are legitimately applying for credit.

2.Secure mobile devices. If your financial life is on a smartphone or tablet, apply software updates that patch known vulnerabilities as soon as they become available. Use security features built into Android and iOS devices, such as passcode or biometric (fingerprint) protection, and programs that encrypt data and remotely wipe contents if the device is lost or stolen.

3.Use strong passwords. They “remain the de facto first line of defense for most online accounts, which has motivated criminals to compromise them whenever possible,” Javelin notes. Using a password manager is a convenient way to maintain good password practices without resorting to writing these codes down, which could also place them at risk of physical compromise.

4. Sign up for account alerts. Offered by banks, credit card issuers and brokerages, these free notifications, via email or text message, provide you with real-time alerts of suspicious activity. When fraud occurs, contact the account issuer immediately.

5.Take data breach notifications seriously. One in 5 data-breach victims suffered fraud in 2015, up from 1 in 7 in 2014. While data breaches at retailers remain an issue, the biggest jump in breaches was at government agencies and health care organizations, with a 64 percent rise in exposure of SSNs.

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