How to scam-proof your travel abroad
Travelling is a great way to unwind and enjoy what life has to offer, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be mindful of your safety.
Scams abound in every part of the world. As the travel industry grows in popularity, scammers and other criminals are also growing in numbers, devising ways to trick unsuspecting tourists from transportation overcharge and forced purchases to ATM skimming and credit card fraud.
PSBank advises travelers to exercise caution when setting foot in foreign lands. Here are some safety measures you can take for a scam-free and enjoyable vacation:
Inform your bank or Credit Card Company if you’re travelling outside of the country. Although most banks have systems in place where they will send you an SMS alert to confirm a purchase before they are processed, and/or a text message and email notification to inform you of your transactions, you will be helping your bank monitor and secure your accounts from any suspicious usage by informing them of your travel plans. This way your bank won’t assume that your debit, prepaid or credit card is being used fraudulently and block it.
Be wary of public wifi.
Hackers can easily set up “free” public WiFi networks and bait people to use them so they can sniff your login passwords or use your accounts while you’re still logged in to the websites without the need for your password. Always ask the hotel, coffee shop or airport personnel their valid WiFi hotspots for guests. If you have to connect to a free WiFi network, never use it to log in to your email, social media or bank accounts.
Never provide debit or credit card details via phone, text or email.
Emails and texts were not created with data privacy in mind. Unencrypted email is an unsecure way to send sensitive information. Emails, SMS, or phone calls can be hacked, spoofed, and eavesdropped. When travelling, it is best to avoid providing personal and financial information through these channels.
Look for the lock.
Aside from a web address that begins with “https:” where “s” stands for ‘secure’, a lock icon on your browser is another indication that the site you are on is safe to use. When booking plane tickets and hotels, or when making online purchases, make sure you can see the padlock symbol in the address bar, before you provide your personal or financial details.
Keep your card visible when making payments.
When paying for your purchases and services using your debit or credit card, make sure that they process your payment in your presence. This way, your card is visible and always with you. Thus, preventing multiple unauthorized card swipes and skimming.
Monitor your accounts regularly.
Monitor your accounts even when you are abroad to ensure that there are no unauthorized transactions. For added security to PSBank Debit and Prepaid Mastercard cardholders, turn on the ATM Lock feature in your PSBank Online or PSBank Mobile App to keep your account safe from ATM skimming and other card-based electronic fraud.
If you think that your bank account has been compromised or noticed any suspicious movements, report it immediately by calling your bank’s customer service hotline.
“Learning how to secure your accounts and avoid obvious threats goes a long way in protecting your personal information and money most especially when you travel,” says PSBank First Vice President for Information Security Dan Jose Duplito.