FAIRFAX, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Millions of Americans are planning their summer vacations. To help
travelers prepare and minimize their financial risk, Apple
Federal Credit Union released its 2017 list of top tips to help
consumers keep their finances safe while traveling.
“Planning and common sense can help make sure vacation fun doesn’t get
derailed by criminals,” explains Larry Larsen, Director of Cyber
Security at Apple Federal Credit Union. “We are constantly looking for
new ways to protect our members’ information and assets. The balance is
to protect them but not be invasive. For instance, Apple reissues Visa
credit and debit cards at the first sign of fraud, rather than waiting
for our members to discover and report the problem.”
Cybercrime is a growing problem. The 2017
Identity Fraud Study, released by Javelin Strategy & Research, found
that a record high $16 billion was stolen from 15.4 million U.S.
consumers in 2016, compared with $15.3 billion and 13.1 million victims
a year earlier. In the past six years, identity thieves have stolen over
$107 billion. This increase was driven by growth in existing
card-not-present fraud transactions, such as online shopping. To combat
cyber criminals when traveling, vacationers are encouraged to keep these
tips in mind.
Alert Your Credit Union or Bank About Your Travel. Providing a
travel notification to the financial institution(s) that holds your
credit and debit cards lets them know where you will be and for how
long. This allows you to use these cards, including at ATMs, outside
of your usual geographical location without setting off alarms and
having your cards frozen.
Download Your Credit Union’s or Bank’s Mobile App. After you
notify your institution about your travel, downloading their mobile
app allows you to bank online or contact the financial institution
should you need to. Check with your institution before traveling to
make sure your destination country is not blocked on their firewall;
many foreign countries have online risks associated with them. If your
destination is blocked, your bank or credit union can help you plan
Do Not Use Public Wi-Fi. Bad guys monitor public Wi-Fi hotspots
in places people often use their cell phones for shopping, such as
coffee shops, hotel lobbies, etc. DON’T DO IT! The exception is if you
are using a secure one-time passcode, such as you get when you check
into some hotels, which includes your name. You can also use your
cellular connection on your phone. If you must use public Wi-Fi, do
not log into any of your financial institutions’ mobile banking
websites, or use your debit or credit cards for online purchases.
Do Not Post on Social Media That You Are Going Away. Posting
your travel plans to share with friends on Facebook or tweeting your
excitement as you board the cruise line is telling the bad guys you
are away. Instead, wait until you return to share information about
Use Card Valet to Turn Your Debit Card “On or Off.” Card
Valet is an app that allows you to set parameters on your debit
card and turn it on or off instantly. It’s as simple as registering
your debit card (if your financial institution offers it) and then
setting parameters for purchases. You can set instant alerts for
purchases based on preset spending limits and purchase location. Plus,
you can receive an instant alert if a purchase has been denied.
Consider Using Gift Cards When You Travel Instead of Taking Your
Debit or Credit Cards. Invest in gift cards for your travel, which
you can pre-load before you go. These are not tied to your bank
accounts so it limits your exposure. Just make sure that vendors at
your destination accept the brand of gift cards (AmEx, MasterCard,
etc.) you’ll be carrying.
File Your Travel Itinerary with the State Department. When
traveling internationally, always file your itinerary with the U.S.
State Department via their website, www.state.gov.
They can provide invaluable assistance while you’re abroad.
To learn more, visit www.AppleFCU.org.
Sandra Remey, 301-929-3554 (o)