Protect yourself against credit card scams and frauds while travelling overseas during your holidays. Stay vigilant and don’t fall victim to identity theft!
1 in 3 Singaporeans have been a victim of credit card scams and fraud, and Singapore was ranked 6th as the most vulnerable country in 2016. Unfortunately, these cases continue to rise over the years and in 2018, there was even an 135% increase in credit card scams and frauds from the previous year.
Here are the common types of credit card scams and frauds, and how you can avoid them while travelling overseas.
1. Watch Out for Card Skimming
When a credit or debit card is swiped through a skimmer, the device captures and stores all the details stored in the card’s magnetic stripe. Credit card skimmers are often found on ATMs, where scammers can recreate your card with stolen data and withdraw cash later on. Restaurant and retail workers may also swipe your credit card through a skimmer when you present your card for payment.
How to avoid card skimming?
When paying for food, goods or services, follow the waiter to the cashier to observe the payment process. Also, when withdrawing cash, always inspect the ATM card slot for anything that looks out of place or loose.
2. Beware of Double Card Swiping
When your credit card has been swiped twice, sensitive card details could be exposed and a counterfeit card could be made using the card data obtained from the second swipe. Double card swiping happens most commonly in bars and restaurants, as you usually leave your card with the wait staff during payment.
How to avoid double card swiping?
Your safest bet is to follow the waiter to the cashier to ensure that your card isn’t swiped an extra time on the reader. Waiters have also been caught copying customers’ credit card numbers. So keep your eyes sharp throughout the payment process to prevent card misuse. Also, inform the staff that you’re paying in the local currency to avoid the notorious DCC trap.
3. Guard Against Illegal Card Scanning
The technology that allows you to pay with your phone or by tapping your card can also be used to steal your credit card information. This happens when a thief with a card scanner goes close to you and places his scanner near your phone, wallet, or even pocket.
How to avoid illegal card scanning?
Prevent unsolicited scanning by staying vigilant and prevent any strangers from getting too close to you. However, it can be difficult when you’re walking in crowded places, especially popular tourist sites. For further protection, keep your cards in a RFID protected wallet or card holder.
4. Prevent the Good Ol’ Stealing
Some thieves go back to basics and simply steal your credit card. Others might try to zoom in and take a photo of your credit card when you are using it. This is also common at ATMs, where illegal hidden cameras can capture your PIN number.
How to avoid card-stealing thieves?
The best way to prevent theft is to keep your card close to you in a clutch or safety pouch under your clothes. When using your card, use your thumb to cover the card numbers and your hand to cover the keypad.
Conclusion: Prevention is Key
Thieves are getting more creative with stealing credit card information, so it doesn’t hurt to be more vigilant.
Before the trip:
- Choose one card to bring overseas to minimise the possibility of being compromised
- Activate transaction alerts to notify every card transaction
After the trip:
- Disable your credit card for overseas use
- Keep a close eye on your credit card statement
Even after the trip is over, don’t let your guard down. Many credit card thieves sell card information online or wait months before using it, so the actual illegal transaction might only occur much later. Call your card’s hotline immediately if you notice illegal transactions.
Credit card frauds might be common, but it’s avoidable. Stay vigilant on your travels to save yourself from all the troubles!
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