Travel Planning Tips to Prevent Fraud

Don't forget to add fraud protection to your packing list

Travel planning tips to prevent fraud
By Jocelyn Wood, RCB Bank Marketing

1. Bring only what you need.

When planning your next vacation, pack a lighter wallet, suggests RCB Bank Vice President, Security Officer Christy Wild.

“Bring only the amount of cash you will need and maybe one credit card.”

2. Leave your debit card at home.

“Especially if you are traveling internationally,” says Wild. “Debit cards tie directly to your bank account. If fraudulent charges are made, it is possible money may be taken out of your account that day.”

If debit card fraud goes unnoticed for a number of days, thieves may deplete your funds. Credit card fraud is not an immediate financial impact on you.

Under the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA), federal law limits your liability for unauthorized charges, but your protection depends on the type of card and when you report the loss.

After you report fraud, your bank has to investigate and process your claim, which takes time. Rules pertaining to refund timeframes vary between types of fraud. Ask your bank for details.

3. Keep an eye on your account.

“From the time your card leaves your wallet until the time it returns, it is technically at risk,” Wild says. “It is crucial to monitor your accounts.”

Proper monitoring will help you find discrepancies.

Early detection and fast action to alert your credit card company and bank is the key to protecting your money.

Many credit card companies and banks offer text banking. This is a great fraud detection tool as you can set up transaction alerts.

Set an alert to notify you each time a transaction occurs on your account. This will help you spot charges you did not initiate. Text banking message, data rates and fees may apply.

You can also download your bank’s mobile banking app. This is another good tool that allows you to scan your accounts anytime from practically anywhere.

“Do not log in to your account on a public Wi-Fi network,” Wild says. “Fraudsters hack public networks and can watch you from the shadows.”

4. Tell your bank when and where you are going.

Before you hit the road, notify your bank and tell them your travel plans.

“It’s added protection,” Wild says. “It alerts them to keep a closer eye on your account. Plus, it helps to make sure they don’t decline your card when you are making purchases in another state, which to a bank may look like suspicious activity.”

Invest in yourself. RCBbank.com/GetFit.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. Member FDIC.
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How to Outsmart Identity Thieves

Every two seconds there is a new victim of identity fraud.*

Chess pieces

By Jocelyn Wood, RCB Bank

Don’t wait for a criminal to steal your identity before you take action. Guard your ID with these preventative measures.

Monitor bank account and credit card statements regularly.

Lookout for suspicious or unauthorized activity.

“Watch closely for small amounts on your account activity,” said Assistant Vice President Fraud Denise Meyer, RCB Bank. “Fraudsters will make little purchases or withdrawals with various odd merchant names hoping you won’t notice.”

Set up for text alerts to notify you whenever a transaction occurs on your bank or credit card accounts.

Check your free credit reports.

Federal law allows you to request a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the three national credit reporting companies (CRC). Request a copy online at www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1.877.322.8228.

Space out requests throughout the year to provide regular updates on your credit. See who is making inquiries on your credit. If it’s not a person or company you gave permission to, your information may be compromised.

Place a fraud alert/credit freeze with CRC.

When you have an alert on your report, a business must verify your identity before it issues credit, so it may try to contact you, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Place a fraud alert at no cost with one CRC. They will then notify the other two. The alert lasts 90 days and can be renewed.

You can go a step further and lock down your credit with a credit freeze, which restricts access to your credit report. You’ll need to contact each CRC to place a credit freeze. There may be a fee.

Credit alerts and freezes may be effective at stopping someone from opening new credit accounts in your name, but it may not prevent the misuse of existing accounts. You still need to monitor all bank, credit card and insurance statements for fraudulent transactions.

Stay Alert

“Criminals take advantage of data breaches, natural disasters or other major crises and prey on people’s fears,” said Meyer.

Watch out for phishing emails pretending to be a government agency or credit reporting service.

Do not click on links from any email, text or social media message about data breaches.

If you think your information has been compromised, call your bank immediately. Read how to report and recover from ID theft at the FTC, www.identitytheft.gov.

Invest in yourself.

 

* 2017 Identity Fraud Study, Javelin Strategy & Research.
Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of writer Jocelyn Wood,RCB Bank Creative Designer, and meant for generic illustration purposes only. RCB Bank, Member FDIC.
Published in Values Magazine ValueNews.com, October 2017

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