Credit Cards

How to Avoid Credit Card Fraud (When Overseas)

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Serene Anne

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Credit card fraud and tourism go hand in hand. They’re both growth industries, and they both involve sending your money to exotic places. So unless you want to end up with a two year credit card debt to a strip bar in Tijuana, we suggest you check out guest writer Serene Anne’s safety tips:

 

Honey, When Did You Go To Bali Without Me?

Wondering if your other half made a mistake since you have not travelled in the past six months, you take a look at the credit card bill that was angrily shoved in your hands. True enough, there were overseas transactions charged to your card. Unfortunately, my friend, you have become a victim of credit card fraud.

According to a report conducted by Aite Group and ACI Worldwide, 20% of the respondents from Singapore have experienced credit card fraud in the past 5 years. Although it is not significantly high, it is painful to go through the investigation with the bank when it happens. Prevention is better than cure so here is how we can minimise any unauthorised transactions with our cards:

 

1. Look Through Your Statements and Cards

I have some friends who will just take one glance at their credit card statement and proceed to pay their bill. Always look through each transaction in the statement to make sure it is legitimate as you have 14 days to dispute the transactions if they were unauthorised.

Do keep check of your cards, especially if you have a wallet just for your credit cards, as it is easy to misplace one of the infrequently used ones and before you know it, someone else would have gone on a spending spree.

 

2. Set Alerts For Any Transactions Made With Your Card

A lovely sunset...on your financial security, if you don't contact banks about strange transaction notices.
A lovely sunset…on your financial security, if you don’t contact banks about strange transaction notices.

 

When I spend more than $500 on my credit cards in Singapore or overseas, I get an SMS that notifies me about the transaction. You can do this too, by customising the alerts you wish to receive.

This typically can be done using the ‘Preferences’ or ‘Profile’ option of your online credit card account. Moving forward, you can notify the bank immediately if you get any SMS of transactions which you did not do.

 

3. Send Your Credit Card Information in Two Separate E-Mails

This usually takes places when you want to book accommodation for your holidays overseas or when the merchant’s online portal fails, and you have to send your order/booking via email. The merchant then asks you for your credit card information to secure the booking.

Always send your credit information in 2 separate emails, for example – first email contains the first 8 digits with the expiry month and year and the second email contains the last 8 digits with the CCV number. By breaking up the credit card information, it reduces the risk of it being comprised by cyber thieves.

 

4. Be Vigilant When Using Your Credit Card Overseas

Walk up to service counters with your credit card, and keep an eye on it, when abroad.
Walk up to service counters with your credit card, and keep an eye on it, when abroad.

“C was on a company trip in Bali and decided to buy a round of drinks for his colleagues in a club. He thought nothing much of paying by his credit card, but found 3 transactions he did not make which totalled up to SGD1,000 when he returned to Singapore and received his bill.

The bank requested that he pay up this amount before conducting their investigation. If C had signed up for alerts on transactions made from the card, he could have notified the bank straight away in Bali.”

One grand could have bought C many massages in Bali, so instead of letting someone else spend it and experiencing such unnecessary distress, be careful when using your card overseas. Pay cash whenever possible at restaurants or nightclubs. If you have to use your card because of all those extra credit card points, present your card at the cashier and complete the payment there. Travel safe and spend safe!

 

Had any bad credit card fraud experiences? Share them with us here!

Image Credits:
Sean MacEntee, krejcirikmira, David Berkowtiz

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Serene Anne

Walking my dog, practising yoga and enjoying an ice-cold beer are some of the fun things I do, but the geeky side of me enjoys reading and sharing the financial tips and promotions with my friends. Read our site, spend safe and be moneysmart!