This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Chase. All opinions are 100% mine.
When planning a trip, how often do you focus on the fun stuff instead of the pieces that feel more like a chore? I know I do. I spend hours researching things to do and restaurants…but then gloss over some preparations – like protecting myself from fraud. However, the best thing to do is set yourself up for success ahead of time so that once you’re actually on vacation, you can relax and enjoy!
Even “expert” travelers aren’t immune to issues on the road. Things like applying for visas, getting vaccinations, or buying travel insurance usually get done. These are obvious, actionable items, so they’re probably already on your to-do list.
The step that gets overlooked the most is fraud protection. People even tend to “block-out” fraud protection advice. Read Chase’s Six Ways to Boost your “Fraud IQ” for features and tips that can help keep fraudsters at bay and make sure you take proactive steps to protect yourself during your travels.
When you’re pulling your credit card out all the time to pay for tours, meals, and hotels, there are a lot of chances for your account information to be exposed or stolen. It’s easy to lose cards since your routine is disrupted and pickpockets prey on tourists who are easily distracted. Next thing you know, someone could have access to your credit line — or worse, your entire identity — and you could be crying in the corner of your hotel room instead of enjoying a coffee in a city square.
Don’t believe me? My credit card was stolen in Bogota earlier this year, and my dad was pickpocketed this summer. When it happens, you instantly feel your stomach sink. Then you need to get yourself into gear and work with your bank to keep your account safe and secure.
Not all banks are created equal, which is one of the reasons I always travel with a Chase credit card. They take my account security seriously and offer zero-liability protection. When my card was stolen, they refunded the entire 50,000 Colombian pesos that were fraudulently charged. They were also more than happy to re-issue a brand new account number and send a new credit card so that I could continue to use my card without worrying about future fraud on that account. Crisis averted! I highly recommend you learn more about Chase Fraud Services as a first step in your own travels.
For both my dad and I, we lost the physical card but having your account number skimmed is also another issue travelers should watch out for. That’s harder to track on your own, since you won’t obviously be missing the card. Chase has tools in place to monitor purchases for you 24/7 and track for unusual purchases on your account. There are two big caveats here though. First, you should make sure to notify them ahead of time if you’re traveling, so your own (legitimate) purchases don’t trigger those fraud alerts. Secondly, make sure that your contact information is always up to date. Chase sends emails and/or text messages to you for potentially fraudulent purchases, but they need to get ahold of you or else they’ll err on the side of caution.
The other trap that travelers fall into is being dependent on public Wi-Fi. Whether you’re logging in from a hotel room or a coffee shop, you have to remember that any information you share online could potentially be collected by hackers. If at all possible, don’t make online purchases on public Wi-Fi. If you absolutely don’t have a choice, look for the “https” prefix (designating a secure site) and use a VPN. These virtual private networks encrypt all the information you type online so that someone won’t steal your data, and can be used on both computers and mobile devices. Still, you’d rather be safe than sorry so don’t use your credit card online unless you know you’re on a secure connection.
You spend so much time packing the right gear and planning the right itinerary that it would be a shame to miss out on enjoying a vacation because of credit card fraud. It only takes a few minutes before your trip to protect yourself, and it can definitely take the potential stress out of your trip.
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