When you take a vacation, you want the entire process to be positive — and something that can quickly put a damper on the excitement is receiving a call from your bank to inform you that your checking accounts have been compromised by fraudsters. While it's impossible to completely reduce your risk of being targeted for bank account fraud, there are a number of things that you can do on vacation to limit your chance of this frustrating experience taking place. Here are some ideas that you should consider implementing.
Use Alternative Forms Of Payment
When you spend money on vacation, try to strictly use cash and your credit card, instead of your debit card. While fraud (through the use of skimming machines, for example) can occur close to home, it's a higher risk if you're traveling to certain areas. If you're vacationing in Mexico, for example, there's a high risk of card fraud if you swipe your debit card in various retail locations. Using cash, of course, eliminates your risk of such issues. Although your credit card can still be compromised, credit card providers typically offer a higher degree of fraud prevention on their products than debit cards connected to checking accounts, which means that if the former card is compromised and used, you'll have little trouble explaining the situation and having the credit card company take care of the issue for you.
Be Prudent About Online Banking
It's best to do any necessary online banking before you travel, but if you're away long enough, you may find yourself needing to log into your account to access your checking account. If doing so is absolutely necessary, make sure that your laptop computer is protected by a virtual private network, or VPN. Such services can be downloaded in advance of your trip and provide a valuable way to encrypt your online activities. This is critical, given that hotel guests have been repeatedly targeted by hackers seeking financial information.
Only Use Reputable Money Exchange Services
If you're traveling abroad and have unexpectedly used up the foreign currency that you obtained before your trip, don't just go to the first place that advertises currency exchange. Foreign travelers can often fall victim to bank card fraud in such unscrupulous locations. Instead, wait until you find a money exchange counter at a bank or in an area that feels more official, such as in an airport instead of in a kiosk in the street.