Summertime has arrived; people are packing their bags and headed out on a summer vacation. You may have remembered to set the house alarm and protect your home while away, but many people find themselves victim to theft or fraud while on vacation. If your wallet is stolen on vacation, not only will you have trouble paying for your trip, but you may return home to find your accounts drained and credit cards maxed out. To avoid unauthorized debt, follow these few tips to protect yourself from experiencing financial disaster during your trip.
When it comes to your wallet, don’t along everything you normally carry with you on vacation. You should carry two forms of identification and two sources of payment. It is best to carry one source of automatic payment, such as a credit card, and one source of tangible money, such as traveler’s checks. Travelers checks must be obtained by a financial institution and require picture identification and a matching signature in order to be cashed. Although some foreign vendors may not accept traveler’s checks, you can generally cash them at banks or money exchange places in any location.
Choose The Best Card
Many people make the mistake of taking along a debit or ATM card on vacation, which can easily be used by an unauthorized user at certain locations. ATM cards can lead to large transaction fees when abroad and debit cards provide problems when trying to recoup money that was lost through theft. Many banks do not offer the same protection against unauthorized charges as they do for credit cards. It is best to stick to a low interest credit card for purchases on vacation and not to purchase more than you can pay off within a month or two when you return home. If you are going to take a credit card that links directly to your bank account, call the bank to make sure they have a policy set in place to process and refund unauthorized charges quickly.
Most banks now offer text messaging or emails for changes in account activity. Setting up these alerts can keep you better informed and help you take action when the problem begins. If you become a victim of theft or fraud on vacation, time is crucial. The quicker you inform your bank and credit card companies, the faster you can prevent further unauthorized charges. Before you leave, find out where your bank or affiliate is located at your destination in case you need to obtain a new source for payment or replace your traveler’s checks. For an extended vacation, find a secure internet connection or telephone line to check your accounts while away. Your biggest defense against theft and fraud is to be informed.