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How would I handle identity theft while traveling?

How would I handle identity theft while traveling?

Old Jul 25th, 2013, 08:50 PM
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How would I handle identity theft while traveling?

We have just had someone manage to get and try to use our debit card and two credit cards to make large purchases withing a few minutes of each other even though the cards were not missing. Fortunately the companies involved did not approve the purchases and we were able to get new account numbers and cards. As I'm in the midst of planning a tip to Italy, I wondered how we would have managed this had we been traveling abroad. We usually consider two different credit cards and a debit card to be enough to take when we travel. If we happen to be in a big city, I imagine that we could go to an American Express office to get a new card. Other than having money wired to us by family, I couldn't think of another way to get money to continue the trip. We used to take traveler's checks but they are not welcomed in many places and we have been charged large fees for using them, so we no longer take them. We would welcome suggestions as to how to handle this situation should it occur.
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Old Jul 25th, 2013, 08:55 PM
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Make copies of your credit cards both sides and make sure you have the international nunber so you can call, if there isa proble,.

I assume the credit card companies have issued new cards with different numbers. When you are ready to leave the country notify them when and where you will be and also to put a warning on purchase above a certain amount.

Other than that, ID theft is just one of many things that can happen at home or abroad.
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Old Jul 25th, 2013, 09:25 PM
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This would be a major headache if you are left with no money instrument since you need the uncompromised physical cards to do many transactions including getting cash.
First, I minimize exposure of credit cards at home, only one CC and only one debit card is used for daily uses.
For trips, I take 4 different credit cards from 4 different banks, 3 cards not usually exposed at home. I also take 3 debit cards from 3 different banks. Again, 2 cards are used only at home bank ATMs and not for shopping. I had this happened to me with CC usually use for everyday use and therefore most exposed. The card I had with me instantly turned into a piece of worthless plastic. Some of my friends who had never had CC compromised only take one CC and one debit card. After all, they are experienced travelers and they have traveled this way for many years....
For payments that can be made with Paypal and Paypal is not linked to the compromised card, you can pay it that way. Although I have never done it, if your hotel takes pity on you, it may take your Paypal payment and give you cash minus fee. Just a thought...
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 12:48 AM
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Report the crime to the local Law enforcement. Have a backup card that is seldom used and carried separately even if there is only a few hundred €/£/$ on there.

Amex is Not widely accepted in Ireland and I had had problems in the UK. Visa and Mastercard are accepted worldwide.
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 01:58 AM
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>

You could only do this if that particular office embosses credit cards which its doubtful they do. Card embossing is normally done at an office facility.

I think it's unusual to have a debit card and 2 credit cards compromised simultaneously. This leads me to believe it's someone you know since it's not likely that you used all 3 cards at the same time for someone to obtain the numbers while you were using them.

I wouldn't worry - it's probably not going to happen again so soon after the last incident, especially with brand new cards and new card numbers.

I take 3 credit cards and one debit card when traveling in Europe but normally use the credit card that I save for travel since there's only a 1% foreign transaction fee on that card.
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 02:32 AM
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Carry two cards (not Amex) and take tel numbers with you.

Do not let your card disappear from site at any time. With modern technology in Europe all transactions should occur in front of you, the old double swipe, double print etc scams are no longer working as you should watch what happens.

Also, some cards are now contact-less, for this you need a Faraday cage in your wallet. Select a slot where your card will go and find a flap behind and in front where you can insert some aluminium sheet (sorry aluminum for my US friends) one sheet on each side should do. If you want to test it try using the wallet to pay at a contact-less point.

Finally, do not access you principle email address on an unsecured link anywhere (starbucks to that nice house next door), if the the link is unsecure to you it is also unsecure to a thief. They can piggy back into your computer and see you accessing your email. Once they have the access code to your email they should be able to unlock most of your bank details.
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 03:40 AM
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A couple of points. It is important to distinguish between identity theft and credit card fraud. They are not the same thing. Did you use the credit cards that were compromised recently? Or maybe somebody went through your garbage and found copies of old statements? Lots of ways credit card numbers become compromised and there's little you can do about that. And luckily, credit card fraud is relatively easy to deal with and while under US law (assuming you're from the US) limits your liability to $50, few banks if any make any effort to even collect the $50.

In general, the banks, at least any decent sized bank wants you to have a card (all the better to make purchases with). Call the number (that you should have a copy of although you can go through international directory assistance) and usually they will make arrangements to express ship a replacement card to any address you give. In the interim, it's a good idea to take several cards with you just in case.

Now identity theft. That's a horse of a different color.
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 05:12 AM
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For those who may not recognize the term contact-less card, presume you mean the relatively new 'chip' cards, which we were told by friends just back from Scandinavia, was preferred and requested by most vendors. These are substantially heavier than other credit cards, but can be 'read' if not protected in your wallet. "Faraday cage" as suggested by bilboburglar above is this-- aluminum works, but we purchased an RFID blocking wallet (readily available in any travel venue), in which we keep our cards. So, be sure to include one or two chip cards, and keep them protected. Also, limit your ATM withdrawals by bringing cash with you, and by using ATMs in banks while open, lest they be swallowed up leaving you with having to revisit the bank the next morning to (hopefully) retrieve it. We use the chip card for all our travel/dining for double points.
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 05:18 AM
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The contactless card is standard weight (well mine are) and has a symbol of a series of partial curves radiating out to the left on it, a bit like >>>> but curved and growing bigger.

As aliced says.
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 05:20 AM
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Your cards would have been denied, and then you can get new cards overnighted to you.
We had our cards stolen on the first day of a trip to France. I called our companies, and especially with the time change (earlier in the US) could get the process started on the same day as the theft.
We had one card the next day and another the following--obviously sent from a base within Europe, as I recall.
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 05:29 AM
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Plain ATM card without debit functions are less risky than debit cards.
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 06:55 AM
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Some people are confusing contactless cards with chip & pin.

Contactless cards are a near field device. You just bring the card close to the payment machine. You do not insert the card, key in a pin, or sign a payment slip. The amount that can be paid using a contactless card is limited. The London Transport Oyster card is also a contactless card, and there can be problems if you keep the cards together and hold them together against the sensor. There are trials taking place in the use of contactless bank cards instead of Oyster cards when paying for transport. Only one of my cards can be used contactlessly. It can also be used as chip & pin card, and is embossed so you can make an impression of it if necessary. Some car hire places still take an impression as a type of deposit.

Chip & Pin cards are widespread in Europe and many other countries. With these cards, you authorise payment by entering a pin in the card reader, rather than by entering a signature. The system is more secure than traditional signature systems, since any payment has to be authorised by both the card holder and the card issuer before it goes through. All my cards are chip & pin, and have been for many years.
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 07:03 AM
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We opened a *second* debit account at a different bank before we went to Europe the last time as insurance. We had enough money in the account to cover things in case of any kind of "worst case scenario". It gave me a lot of peace of mind. (We had had 2 CCs compromised in a short period of time before our trip, which is what made me think of opening a new debit account.)
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 08:10 AM
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European chip and pin cards are not near field devices.

There are a few available from certain banks in Europe, but they tend to be only able to be used for small amounts. Normal chip and pin cards are extremely safe, and would be even safer if the magnetic strip, needed for travel to the US, was removed.

Since Dutch banks have turned off use of cards outside Europe card fraud has dropped dramatically. Skimming still occurs here, due to the magnetic strip still be present, but it is increasingly rare.

Your cards are more likely to compromised due to use in the US than in Europe. Make sure you have two cards of each type, preferably not linked to the same account, though normally if on card is compromised the others on that account are still good.
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 09:51 AM
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One of our credit cards was compromised the first night we were in Rome last year. We travel with a computer so were notified immediately (since I was regularily checking email) and a swift call to the credit card company verified that one charge was good (our dinner) and the other two weren't. They canceled the card and we had to use one of the spares we bring along.

We always notify the credit card companies and our bank before we travel. The bus tickets we get to go from our town to O'Hare for some reason are routed through the UK and every year that we have pre-booked we get a call to verify this is a proper charge.

It is a pain but when you get home a new card is there waiting for you (unless you opt to have one overnighted immediately). Just be sure that anything you may automatically renew on the canceled card is update with the new number.

Have a super trip!!
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 10:18 AM
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I can see it would be a hassle, that's for sure. I have had this happen numerous times now (probably at least 5), and no one ever had my physical card, either. It was all online. However, I have never had it done to two of my cards at the same time virtually!

I am single and even I travel with more cards than you have. I travel with 3 credit cards (one of each, a Visa, Mastercard and Amex) and two debit cards (two different bank accts, one my main checking and the other a separate money market acct). So I would think between the 2 of you, you might think of taking more than just 2 credit cards, for one thing. It's only happened to me twice, but I've had it happen that some vendor (stores) would not accept a Visa due to network problems, but would accept a MC. Another time, the store couldn't accept a Visa or MC but could accept Amex as it was a different network. These were just computer issues, but I think it can't hurt to have 3 different types.
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 10:19 AM
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oh, and then when I travel, I always leave at least one of those cards in my hotel room safe, I don't carry them all on me.
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 10:25 AM
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Amex Global Assist will wire money to you in an emergency. They can also arrange for a hotel to charge your account without having a physical card present.
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 10:28 AM
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 01:09 PM
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The system is more secure than traditional signature systems, since any payment has to be authorised by both the card holder and the card issuer before it goes through.

If you mean that the pin number is a more effective measure of authorization than the signature, how does a car rental company put a potential hold on your card for future charges (road taxes, potential repair costs, inquiries from enforcement agencies, etc.)?
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