Americans love to travel during the summer months — and when they travel, they love to spend their hard-earned money on the vacations they’ve been looking forward to all year.
One of the biggest dangers of travel, however, is that we tend to use our credit cards much more frequently, and in places that we’re unfamiliar with. Whether ordering dinner online or booking your plane tickets, the card not present transaction process can leave consumers vulnerable to credit card theft or insecure payment processing.
Don’t let fraud or theft ruin your vacation. Here’s how to keep yourself safe no matter where you travel.
- Keep track of your card at all times. Really, this should be an all-the-time rule, but when traveling to high-tourist areas you need to also be on high alert for pickpockets or thieves. If possible, try to just keep one card on you for all purchases.
- Don’t make purchases over an open wireless network. In 12% of debit or credit fraud cases, the initial point of contact is made through a website. Open wireless networks are easy for people to hack into and steal information, making the card not present transaction process extremely risky.
- Set an alert with your credit card company. Let them know about your travel plans in the first place — so that they don’t think a sudden purchase on the other side of the country is fraudulent — but also ask for an alert if spending exceeds a certain limit. (Maybe that will help you stick to your budget, too!)
- Stay vigilant, even after you return home. Make sure to check over your statements regularly, even after the trip is over, in case of any suspicious activity or charges. Sometimes thieves will wait until you’re not looking to try to pull one over on you.
You don’t have to spend your entire vacation worried about someone stealing your credit card information — but you shouldn’t completely put it out of mind, either. Prepare yourself and stay aware to guard your personal information and to keep your finances secure.