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Travel Tips to Help You Enjoy Your Summer Plans

The spring and summer vacation season has begun. As you’re planning your itinerary, always be mindful of where and how you’re using your banking information. Remembering some simple but important tips can help you enjoy your summer plans worry-free.

Watch for ATM scammers

Scammers have numerous methods of compromising an ATM. The most common is a skimmer, which is a device installed somewhere on the machine, usually the card reader, that collects card numbers. Thieves will later recover and use this information to make fraudulent purchases that could stop you from enjoying your summer plans. Skimmers can usually be spotted by doing a quick visual or physical inspection before swiping or inserting your card. If something looks suspicious, you can shake the card reader and if it’s loose, report it immediately to an employee.

Practice ATM safety when using the machines

Avoid using standalone ATM’s. Thieves are more likely to compromise a remote ATM or the machine farthest from the entrance to a gas station or convenience store. It’s easier to place and remove a device on machines located in a darker setting and harder to spot.

Be vigilant about observing your surroundings when using an ATM. Pay attention to anyone loitering near a machine and always use a machine in a well-lit area, preferably inside a facility.

Another criminal method of scamming an ATM is to install a small camera aimed at the keypad in order to retrieve your pin number. Cameras can be placed directly above the keypad or along the side or top of the machine, making them more difficult to spot. Always cover the keypad as you enter your PIN.      

Share vacation details after your trip, not before

Never post your whereabouts or plans online even if you have a private account because this will not stop scammers from finding your information. Once they retrieve the data, they’ll know when you’re away enjoying your summer plans and may try to break into your home. To insure the privacy of your information and valuables, use a lock box to store your sensitive information and only post vacation photos after you arrive back home.

Limit the amount of cash you carry

Carrying large sums of cash when you’re travelling is never a good idea. Decide on the amount of cash you may need and use your debit card for everything else. Cards can be replaced if stolen, cash cannot. Using your debit card may be safer and cost less than a credit card due to fees that can be attached to credit.

Learn about juice jacking

Juice jacking is a security exploit in which an infected USB charging station is used to compromise devices that connect to it. These charging stations are typically located in public places like airports and shopping malls. The exploit takes advantage of the fact that a mobile device’s power supply passes over the same USB cable that the connected device uses to sync data. Data can be stolen and then sold on the black market where your identity can then be compromised.

The best way to avoid this situation is to not use these public charging stations, especially when travelling. Use your own portable charger that is already charged at home. While the risk of becoming the victim of a juice jacking exploit is low, the risk of being attacked is real.

Copy important documents and phone numbers

Documents like passport identification, driver’s license, vehicle registration, and your itinerary should be shared with a friend or relative prior to your vacation. Include numbers for credit cards, property insurance and health insurance, but never include credit card numbers or your Social Security number. If you plan to take a copy of the list with you, keep it on your person.

Know where to go for help in case of emergency

Banks, credit card companies, delivery services and other businesses can be your best ally when disaster hits while you’re travelling. Remember to report any stolen cards or data immediately and work with your bank or credit card company to continue your vacation and get you home safely. Notify your bank or credit card company prior to leaving so they know you’ll be out of town. This will help if you do incur any unforeseen situations and will alert them to potential unusual charges.

Taking some precautions and staying alert will insure that you can enjoy your summer plans and stay safe and secure.

Written by The FKCB Fraud Department

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Posted On:

May 7, 2024

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