By Glen McCall
August 22, 2023

Don’t be fooled by fraud

Discover steps to safeguard your finances from fraud when traveling and make the most of your journey.

From the moment we book our tickets, our minds become consumed with visions of breathtaking landscapes, vibrant cultures, and unforgettable experiences.

Travel comes with the promise of unknown horizons with boundless possibilities and unforgettable experiences. It’s also the perfect hunting ground for those looking to steal your financial future. Fraud prevention during travel is crucial in keeping your finances secure while on the go. Traveling exposes you to new experiences, cultures, and people, but it also exposes you to potential fraudsters who may try to scam you out of your hard-earned money.

Although Debit and Credit cards are a convenient way to pay for things while on your trip, they can also be a target for fraud. In December 2022, the Nilson Report, which monitors the payments industry, released a forecast indicating that U.S. losses from card fraud will total $165.1 billion over the next ten years.  

Fortunately, by using a few simple precautions, you can take steps to protect yourself from fraud and enjoy your new adventures with peace of mind. 

Protect your personal information

Protecting your personal information is one of the most important things you can do to prevent fraud. This includes your passport, credit card numbers, bank account details, and other sensitive information. Never give out your personal information to strangers, and avoid using unsecured public Wi-Fi networks to access sensitive data. Instead, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt your connection and protect your online activities.

Be mindful of your surroundings

When using your debit card at an ATM or point-of-sale terminal, be aware of your surroundings and cover your PIN when entering it. Make sure you’re in a well-lit area and that there are other people around.

Use cash instead of debit/credit cards

While plastic is convenient, using it can also expose you to potential fraud. Fraudsters can easily skim your card information, clone your card, and use it for unauthorized transactions. To avoid this risk, consider using cash instead of debit/credit cards when traveling. This way, you can keep track of your expenses and avoid the risk of fraudulent charges on your card.

Keep your valuables safe

Another way to prevent fraud during travel is to keep your valuables safe. This includes your passport, cash, debit/credit cards, and other important documents. Always keep these items in a secure location, such as a hotel safe or a locked suitcase. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or displaying expensive jewelry or electronics in public, as this can attract unwanted attention.

Beware of scams

Fraudsters often target travelers with scams that appear legitimate but are actually designed to steal your money. These scams can take many forms, such as fake hotel bookings, fake tour guides, and fake charity appeals. Always be skeptical of unsolicited offers, and never give out your personal or financial information to someone you don’t know or trust.

Monitor your accounts and set up alerts

Monitor your accounts regularly for suspicious activity and talk with your banker about setting up alerts for your debit card. Check your credit card and bank statements regularly to ensure all transactions are legitimate. If you notice any unauthorized charges, immediately report them to your bank or credit card company. This will help you to minimize any losses and prevent further fraud.

Taking the necessary precautions to keep your finances secure on the go is essential. By remaining vigilant and mindful of potential fraud, you and yours will be able to embrace every moment of your travels with open arms and immerse yourselves in the beauty of new surroundings giving you memories to last a lifetime. 

Bon voyage and safe travels!

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About Glen McCall

Glen McCall leads First United Bank’s Oklahoma City and Edmond Markets and its purpose to inspire and empower others to Spend Life Wisely.

Glen is a graduate of Eckerd College, earning his degree in Business Management and ABA’s Commercial Lending School at SMU.

Glen serves his community through Scouting and Santa Fe Presbyterian Church in Edmond.

Glen resides in Edmond, OK with his wife of 27 years, Tracie, a Special Ed. Teacher, and their 3 sons. His free time is spent at his sons’ football games, band competitions and swim meets.