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CAPH52 Feb 15th, 2007 03:25 PM

Fraud prevention calls from credit card companies
Thanks to one of the many, many useful things I've learned as a result of my addiction to Fodor's, I know that one should always call your credit card company before heading overseas. So my daughter very responsibly made a point of calling both her credit card company and her bank to tell them she would be in Europe for the next four months.

Well, on Tuesday there was a message on our answering machine from Visa Fraud Prevention about her ATM/debit card. And today there was one from her credit card company.

I'm very glad that they're being so careful about fraud. But what's the point of calling ahead? While they didn't actually deactivate the card, they would if she didn't respond to their message. And, of course, <i>my</i> calling and pointing out that she had called them before she left made no difference at all. Again, I'm glad they're so mindful of all the privacy issues. But it can be very frustrating!

I'm wondering whether it's worth even bothering to call before I leave in March to visit her. Oh, I will call. But now I guess I'm also going to have to pay international charges to check my answering machine for fear my cards will be cut off.

Eleni Feb 15th, 2007 03:44 PM

With my credit card company (Bank of America), the notice has to be renewed every 30 days. In other words, when I am gone for more than 30 days, I have to call more than once. Also, Bank of America will only accept the notice within 24 hours of departure, so if you call before that time, you will waste your time on hold for no good purpose.

CAPH52 Feb 15th, 2007 04:00 PM

Actually, Eleni, while neither of hers were BOA, she did call within 24 hours of departure and she's only been gone since the sixth of this month.

pat Feb 15th, 2007 04:25 PM

I called on a recent trip to let them know I was leaving. I was able to use my card, but when I got back, I had a message that I had suspicious activity on my account. It was like I didn`t even bother to call!

NeoPatrick Feb 15th, 2007 04:56 PM

My favorite was that just before heading to Europe we ran a $20,000 charge on my partner's Citibank card (a business expense and a nice way to get 20,000 FF miles). The same day we charged it, we wrote a check to Citibank in the exact amount of the charge so there would be no problem. We also called and said we were headed to London for 10 days. So we were shocked at Royal Opera Covent Garden when his credit card was denied. We went back to our flat and called Citibank collect. They had put a hold on his card because of a &quot;suspicious&quot; credit payment. Huh? They wouldn't let him charge because we had a $20,000 credit balance. Go figure.

CAPH52 Feb 15th, 2007 05:21 PM

After our experiences this week and your posts, pat and Patrick, I'm convinced there just isn't any way to avoid problems! I can only begin to imagine how frustrated you must have been to have your card declined after you'd done everything &quot;right&quot;, Patrick!

Eleni Feb 15th, 2007 05:27 PM

Oh well! My mistake for thinking there was a logical explanation....
should have known that &quot;credit card company&quot; and &quot;logical explanation&quot; are incompatible concepts.

NeoPatrick Feb 15th, 2007 05:41 PM

The good news was how easy it was to call Citibank collect from London and get it straightened out in a matter of minutes. And that was on New Year's Day! About 5 AM in the US.

LucieV Feb 15th, 2007 06:12 PM

Maybe I was just lucky, but we had no problems on our most recent trip (October 2006.) I did call each credit card and debit card company <u>twice</u> beforehand, giving them the exact dates of our trip. I'm ultra-paranoid about that stuff ever since the trip years ago when our debit card got eaten by an ATM in Venice.

NeoPatrick Feb 15th, 2007 06:17 PM

Well, Lucie, considering the quality of the food in Venice, those Venetians will eat ANYTHING.

djkbooks Feb 15th, 2007 07:00 PM

I always call and have never had any problems in Europe.

Even so, I make sure to have the non toll-free number, which all permit you to phone collect. So, if you have a problem with any of your cards, you can just use an alternate, and phone ASAP to clear up the card in question.

LucieV Feb 15th, 2007 07:16 PM

Neo, good one. In fact, it happened right after we bought our third gelato of the day. Maybe somebody was trying to tell us something.

beaupeep Feb 15th, 2007 08:17 PM

Must be a U.S. bank thing because I have a Swiss credit card, never call when I go on vacation and never have a problem.

LoveItaly Feb 15th, 2007 11:25 PM

Hi CAPH, I have never had a problem (and yes of course I call the Financial Institutions a day or two before I leave) but I had known several people that have had problems. And in each case they did make the phone calls. But a lot of people do not realize the 800 phone number will not work when out of the country. I always take 2 copies of the phone numbers of the various financial institutions that I can call collect.
It is so irritating and it seems more and more travel is becoming such a hassle. I am glad you got things worked out.

Dukey Feb 16th, 2007 12:17 AM

Unfortunately, calling ahead of time doesn't always seem to eliminate problems.

We always do it and sometimes we can be gone for weeks without problems and other times we end up having to call the CC &quot;security department&quot; because the card has been denied.

One thing I do do now is ask the clerk to try a second time and the reason is we were recently gone for almost amonth without any difficulties whatsoever and charged things, literally, in a variety of countries.

On our last night at hotel check-in the card was denied. I used my mobile phone right there to call the security department.

It turns out the charge had been denied because the desk clerk had input the expiration date incorrectly!

xyz123 Feb 16th, 2007 12:34 AM


One error in your post....the toll free nujmber will work if called from outside the USA...I have called US toll free numbers manyh many times on my mobile phone while in do get a message saying something to the effect the toll free number you are calling is not toll free if called from outside the United States. You will be billed at international calling rates. If you do not wish to be charged, please hang up now.....only after this message does the call go through.

Of course, many credit card companies do offer you the ability to call collect to a non toll free USA number if calling the security department.

Carrybean Feb 16th, 2007 02:08 AM

Knock on wood, I've never had problems with my Citi card or Amex when I've called before(but usually don't use Amex anyway.) Of course, there's always the next trip. . .

tmt Feb 16th, 2007 04:41 AM

Is this a new problem with credit cards and ATMs?

I have never called when we are out of the country and have never had a problem.

The only time I was in fear of my ATM card being eaten was when the bank's keypad didn't have letters on it - only numbers (quite a few years ago) and realized I needed to remember the pin number, not the word for outside the US.

ekscrunchy Feb 16th, 2007 05:02 AM

I also think it has something to do with what country you are traveling in. At least that was what Visa told me when I called to complain about a problem with my card being denied at a hotel in Turkey.

Gardenstogo Feb 16th, 2007 06:23 AM

I have found Amex to be extremely efficient after I let them know I am traveling. Never a problem. But, of course, Amex is not accepted in a lot of places.
I ALWAYS take a few travelers checks for emergencies. I know it's &quot;old fashioned&quot; but I feel better.

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