I can’t tell you the sinking feeling I had once I realized that my credit card had been compromised while travelling. I was fortunate to discover the incident occurred just as I was at the airport on the way home. But nonetheless, the feeling in my stomach was something I would never forget. I can’t imagine it happening while I was in the middle of Asia, trying to make my way from hotel to hotel with a card that had been compromised. Needless to say, it brought an awareness to my financial security while travelling to the forefront, and I’m not alone, I’m sure.
Nearly 4 in 10 Canadians have either been a victim of or know someone who has been affected by fraud or identity theft according to a 2019 study by Capital One. And since March is Fraud Prevention Month, and many people tend to forget about their financial security while on vacation, we thought what better time to review how to protect yourself while you’re jetting off on your dream vacation. Here are some simple ways protect against fraud and keep your finances in check.
Know your credit score
Keeping tabs on your credit score is like doing a little vital check on your finances. It will let you know if someone tries to falsely open a new loan account in your name. It’s never been easier to keep track of these activities thanks to free credit monitoring tools like Credit Keeper™ from Capital One . You’ll get weekly score updates, alerted to suspicious activity and information on any new accounts that are opened in your name. Unexpected changes to credit scores can be an early indication of fraudulent activity on one or more accounts.
Know the ins and outs of your credit card
Each card has different levels of fraud protection, so make sure you read the fine print, and know the steps you need to take if you are compromised while on the road. The Capital One study found that 91% of Canadians don’t really understand what large companies do to help protect them against fraud and to protect their personal information. Knowing the details of how your bank can help will ease your stress while travelling. Choose a card that has smart features built in, like two-way fraud alerts, and ensure you’ve given your financial institution permission to contact you to alert you to suspicious activity. Capital One’s Mobile Banking app allows you to sign up for push notifications to notify you when a purchase is made on your card, alerts that prompt for a ‘Yes ‘ or ‘No’ response to verify unusual transactions, and check your account on the go. Perfect for when you’re shopping and hitting up non-stop gelato shops in Rome (it’s totally ok if you do 4 or 5 gelato fixes in one day, we won’t tell!).
Report issues right away
If you suspect some sort of suspicious activity on a card, let your bank know as soon as possible. A block or freeze can be put on your card to prevent further charges (because you really don’t want your card to be racked up with purchases!) until you can verify the transactions or receive a replacement card. That means you need to look at your accounts and purchase history and do your due diligence, but trust us, it’s worth it in the end to spend a few minutes each day checking in on your accounts.
Play it safe
Always keep PINs and passwords private. Never share them, keep them covered while entering them at point of purchase. Be aware of suspicious text messages or emails requesting password information – which may be phishing scams. If you’re unsure of a message, check with your bank to confirm legitimacy.
This post was sponsored by Capital One Canada, but views and opinions are that of the author and Travel & Style Magazine.