Keeping your money safe when travelling overseas

By Joshua White

Whether it’s for business or leisure, overseas travel offers you the opportunity to see and experience more of the world. However, it does come with risks, and financial fraud is not the least among them.

We sought advice from Toby Carlin, senior director of fraud protection and compliance at FICO, who explained how you can fall victim to fraud while travelling, and what you can do to protect yourself.

READ MORE: Should you use your bank card while overseas?

Financial fraud while travelling – what are the risks?

Carlin says, “Travelling offers a unique set of opportunities to fraudsters. Firstly, it gives them a window of time during which the customer is uncontactable. While you are on a flight, the bank has no way to validate activity or alert you, so fraud can easily go unchecked.”

Additionally, Carlin explains, “Most people relax and enjoy their holidays with their phones hidden somewhere, perhaps in a hotel safe. This offers another opportunity for a fraudster to complete their attack, as the customer might not see the alert immediately.”

Carlin also raises the issue of travellers being unaccustomed to a particular country’s banking practices.

“While in a foreign country, many travellers will be unfamiliar with local banking processes. Is contactless banking acceptable? Does the country use chip-and-PIN, or a signature? Is cash preferred to card? This uncertainty presents a perfect opportunity for fraudsters to trick their victims.”

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How can you protect yourself while travelling?

Carlin notes, “The majority of modern banks have systems that are sophisticated enough to amend their fraud protections dynamically. However, there are several measures a customer can take to stay protected.”

The measures Carlin mentions are as follows.

  1. Ensure that you remain attentive to warnings and communications from the bank. It’s essential that you monitor and respond to any security alerts from the bank during your holidays, as you would at any other time.
  2. Remain vigilant and keep yourself, your banking details, and your cards secure at all times.
  3. Make sure that the bank can contact you in the event of fraud. Let the bank know that you are travelling, and ensure that your contact details are up to date.

READ MORE: What happens to your medical aid when you move overseas?

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