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How do you protect against identity theft while traveling?

How do you protect against identity theft while traveling?

Old Aug 3rd, 2005, 03:14 PM
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How do you protect against identity theft while traveling?

Hello all-

We are traveling to Thailand in October and I was wondering what you all use for money when you are in Asia. I have been to Europe and Australia and just used my credit card for the most part. This is my first trip to Asia. I am a bit cautious to use my regular credit card for fear my # will get stolen.(a good friend just had her identity stolen so I am all nervous now).
I would appreciate your input on what everyone uses (travelers checks, straight up currency, etc.).

THANKS!!
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Old Aug 3rd, 2005, 04:20 PM
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In Asia, and everywhere else for that matter, I use credit cards and my bank ATM card to withdraw local currency from my checking account. I also carry a small amount of travellers checks, $500 usually, just in case I can't get to an ATM or it's not working. I don't worry about identity theft any more overseas than I do here. Just use normal precautions, make sure no one is looking over your shoulder when punching in your PIN number, never give out your social security number or mother's maiden name. If your card number is stolen and used, here in the US (I don't know where you're from) you are protected by law and you will only be liable for the first $50.00 charged and many banks will even eat that, leaving you no liability, just a big headache putting a stop on the card and getting it replaced. Always carry the bank/card reverse charge phone number just in case.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2005, 05:37 PM
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A credit card number can get stolen anywhere and it's probably just as likely to happen at home as anywhere else. As the above poster mentioned, you're not liable for fraudulent charges. I don't use a debit card (at home or abroad) as those are directly tied to bank accounts. I prefer an ATM only card where a pin must always be used. Yes credit card number theft can happen but I don't think you need to be overly worried about it.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2005, 05:49 PM
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Answer: Same way you do at home!

In Asia & India, we prefer not to let our credit card out of your sight! Get up and pay at the counter after you are presented with a bill or just ask that the card be processed in front of you at a shop. Reasonable request. If they won't adhere, don't buy with a card.

In 8 years of travel to US, Canada, Mexico, Sth America, Africa, Asia, middle east & Europe never had a problem. Only with ATM's not giving out money in Buenos Aires. Good luck!
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Old Aug 4th, 2005, 12:12 PM
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Personally I'm Old School and have been using traveler's checks and cash for 3 decades and plan to continue using them. I once had identity theft...in San Francisco...on my Amexp card. What a mess and had a gas company card number stolen...a mess trying to straighten it out. I do use AmExp credit card to pay my hotel bills a lot...depending on how much the hotel bill is, but I have never used an ATM card or a debit card as an ATM card. Once I did use my debit card, in Paris, for a purchase...ONLY because half way to PAris it hit me that I had left my AmExp card in my wallet...locked in my car parked at a friend's house and was flying to Paris only with a debit card and of course enought money in traveler's checks to pay for the whole week away. Other than that one mishap, I leave the debit card/ATM card at home when I'm going abroad. If you have AmExp, you can take your checkbook and if you need emergency funds, go to the AmExp office and write a personal check for the funds.I've done that more than a few times in Europe as I used to vacation there for 11 weeks at a time. Happy Travels!
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Old Aug 4th, 2005, 12:40 PM
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In the last year or so, when I travel internationally I've gotten into the habit of calling my credit card company, bank, etc. to let them know where I'm going and the dates of my vacation. Just a little precaution to help sort out my records in case my cards do get stolen or someone tries to steal my identity.
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Old Aug 4th, 2005, 01:13 PM
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There's a huge difference between identity theft and a credit card number being stolen. I've had the latter happen (on more than one occasion) and while it's an inconvenience, it's just a matter of calling the credit card company and telling them that you didn't authorize the charges and having them issue you another number.

I don't think a stolen credit card number is going to automatically translate into stolen identity. For that they would have to have other information, like your social security number, etc. Actually for identity theft to happen, no one really needs your credit card number at all, just your address, DOB and social.
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Old Aug 4th, 2005, 01:22 PM
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I'm with Guen on this one. I take my AmEx card and checkbook and have used that courtesy in Europe and Thailand. I have tried my ATM in Europe but not in Thailand. I assume it would work though. I also carry cash with me and get a better exchange rate.
Carol
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Old Aug 4th, 2005, 01:51 PM
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Patty is exactly right. With ID theft, it's more likely that someone will open NEW credit cards, loans, etc with your information, not use your existing cards. This is why it's so important to guard your personal information. A stolen card/number on the other hand is a pain in the butt though not a big deal. It's just a matter of calling the card company or bank to let them know, stop the card and get a new one, which is why you should always have their collect call number handy. It's on the back of the card but if you lose the card, there goes the phone number with it, so write it down and know your account number.
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