Background: We all have heard horrible stories of lost travel documents while traveling, credit card, wallets and fraud on our cards among other things. Consolidating some best practices here that my fellow friends, colleagues and business partners do, I’m trying to address this issue.
Before you go on a vacation/business trip:
- Plan your travel securely: When booking your flights, hotels, car rental and activities online, make sure you use only websites you know and trust. The website should be a secure site, look for an “s” after the “http” in the webpage address or URL.
- Scan Important documents and store them in cloud: Scan all important travel documents like passport, visa, passport size photograph, credit cards, identity documents (social security, driver’s license etc), your travel itinerary and confirmation copies (although if booked online you will be able to retrieve it back from your travel company site). Keep all these documents in your cloud account so that you can access them from anywhere if you happen to lose any of them. Being in foreign country if you lose any of this document, it might be difficult for you to return to your home country without such document, so having a copy of it will help you to reach out to consulate and get an alternate in form of waiver letter and/or duplicate document, enabling you to reach back your base/home country.
- Inform your bank: Most of the banks now track spending pattern and before your trip, you should inform your bank about your visiting country including dates so that your card is not flagged or blocked for unusual activity.
- Emergency Contacts: While traveling, you should be aware of all emergency contact details of your Credit Card Company, bank, local contact details of your country embassy/consulate and contact details of your mobile service provider. All these numbers will come handy in case you reporting lost stolen card, needed money transfer, want to reach consulate for document support and reporting lost mobile phone/sim card.
- Petty Cash: Always carry local currency for small expenses like Taxi Fare, public transport and tips/gratuity among others. Credit Card penetration outside few developed nations is low while using public services.
- Activate SMS/Email notifications on your Credit Card: Always ensure you activate SMS and/or Email notifications for your credit card whenever you use them. This will help you track all spends that you are doing and also any fraudulent activity that might happen on your card.
Once you are on the Move:
- Keep your documents safe: Do not carry your passport and other important travel documents while sightseeing. Use hotel in-room security safe to keep valuables like passport, excess cash and documents. Never leave your cards in the same pocket/wallet and distribute them into different pockets, that way you won’t lose everything. Never leave your credit card unattended and keep the card in view when it is being processed for payment.
- Tally your Spend with Notifications: If you have SMS/Email Notifications on for your spend using card, try to tally them on a daily basis so that you can report any misuse immediately. Also carry all the receipts of your spend and make sure the amount tally with the notifications. Contact your bank immediately if you notice any unusual activity.
- Maintain Privacy: Do not share your pin, any personal information and do not fill any public survey. No bank, merchant and/or any Police should ask you your Pin. Do not allow for your documents to be photocopied.
When back home:
- Tally your Spend again: Make sure to tally your spend again with the receipts and your card statement and report any misuse immediately. Dispute the transaction if it does not matches with the receipts or any charge that you do not recognize. If you do notice discrepancy, make sure to change your credit card and discontinue the existing one to avoid any future misuse.
I’m sure there are lot of other things which many of you are doing to have a fraud free travel, please do share them below for the benefit of fellow readers.
Knowledge is best when shared!