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I've heard lots about credit card fraud, but I don't want to carry too much cash!

I've heard lots about credit card fraud, but I don't want to carry too much cash!

Old Jul 6th, 2004, 06:33 AM
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I've heard lots about credit card fraud, but I don't want to carry too much cash!

Hello. First, let me say I've done my research on this site - not only reading current threads, but doing searches on words like credit card fraud.
I've also spoken to someone at my bank in South Africa. I've still got to speak to an expert in banking as it relates to international travel. But, based on what I've heard so far, credit card fraud, cloning etc seems huge.
One person I have spoken to at my bank, not the expert, suggests I should avoid using my credit card and try and book accommodation through my travel agent this side. But I want to make use of the great accommodation suggestions I've received from this forum.
I had planned to use my card to pay for accommodation and car hire and draw sufficient cash from ATMs for other expenses - eating, shopping etc.
My husband and I planned to take two credit cards and two ATM cards - in other words, one each.
I know I won't be held responsible for fraud related to my credit card, but would really prefer to avoid the hassles that would surely follow.
I guess what I'm asking is whether my planned use of my credit card is sensible. I also know I shouldn't let the card out of my sight.
I've also read all the advice about separate emails for sending credit card numbers, the fax and telephone options.
Has it all been said on this subject? If so don't bother responding. If not, any help is appreciated.
Thanks.
Lisa.

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Old Jul 6th, 2004, 06:39 AM
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My thought is the least number of times you use the credit cards, the less chance of problems statistically. So for hotel and car only, is better (with my theory) than charging every little thing, like some do.

Back that up with a visit to an ATM every few days and I think that's the best you can do. Best wishes.
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Old Jul 6th, 2004, 06:39 AM
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I think this is sorta silly. Of course there is CC fraud in Europe -- but there is also fraud in S. Africa, the USA and anywhere else. Your waiter in a local restaurant can clone your card just as easily as someone in Paris or London or Rome.

CCs (and ATMs) are about the safest way to go since you are protected.
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Old Jul 6th, 2004, 06:41 AM
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Hi lisa,

I think that you are fretting too much.

Credit card fraud and identitiy theft can occur anywhere.

It is more important that you don't let anyone get your ATM card number, especially if it is the kind that can also be used as a charge card.

If that one is used the money is withdrawn from your bank account, and that can be a real bummer.
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Old Jul 6th, 2004, 06:45 AM
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Thanks everyone for the reassurance.
I do know that credit card fraud can happen in any town, city and country. And I am probably fretting too much. I this it's because I've been reading a lot about it on this forum recently, and then there was the chat with a consultant at my bank. Also I am fortunate in that I haven't been the victim of card fraud so far, touch wood. No one I know has had this unhappy experience.
I will stick to careful use of my credit card and have an ATM card that is not a charge card and keep it safe.
Thanks again.
Lisa.
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Old Jul 6th, 2004, 07:29 AM
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I have had fraud on two of my credit card accounts. The only inconvenience to me was to receive a new account and new cards within 10 days. Otherwise, it is ALL on the bank/issuer to deal with.
Credit cards are the MOST secure way to pay, in my opinion. Cash is lost forever if lost/stolen, atm/debit cards can be replaced but with more involvement/red-tape than c.c., and travelers checks are expensive, not as easily spent, and bothersome. Personal checks rarely accepted. What's left?
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Old Jul 6th, 2004, 07:36 AM
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You can be as careful as you can be and some waiter or clerk can simply memorize the number, expiraton date and "security code" on the signature slip very simply whether ytou use it at a fancy store or at the corner grocery.

So don't worry about it. Should it happen, you will have to call the card issuer, perhaps fill out an affadavit and the fraudulent charges will be removed from your account.

It is stupid not to use your credit cards worrying about fraud. If a merchant takes credit cards, I use them no matter how small the charge. I am payng for that anyway.

It happened to me twice and while it is irksome, I didn't lose one red cent. Nor will you.
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Old Jul 6th, 2004, 08:00 AM
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This reminds me of the doctor who was asked whether seatbelts do more harm than good. "That depends," he said. "Tell me what kind of accident you're going to have, and I'll tell you whether to wear your seatbelt or not."

Do you think you're more likely to run into a pickpocket, a mugger, or a fraud expert?

The point is, all of life--especially travel--comes with risk. There are ways to minimize it (never put all your eggs in one basket, i.e. don't rely on just one way to pay; take cash, credit cards, and traveler's checks; check your accounts daily; contact your card issuer if you even suspect something is amiss; etc.), but you're never going to conquer it so relax, do the best you can, and enjoy your trip.

Remember that for every person who posts about a problem, there are probably 1000 more who have never had that problem.


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Old Jul 6th, 2004, 08:08 AM
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Exactly! elle,
my husband and I are one of those who have never had any problems with credit cards on our travels, anywhere.
We take a bank card and two credit cards, one being AmEx.
As soon as we arrive at our destination, we get cash out of the bank..the cards are for the hotels, sometimes restaurants and shopping.
Bank people are the ones who hear all about all the card and banking problems so they would be the ones to tell you all about them. Travelers will be better suited to tell you from experience.
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Old Jul 6th, 2004, 10:05 AM
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Hmmm. The thing is I hadn't really been too troubled about credit card fraud until I started reading about travellers' experiences on this forum. It was information gathered from previous posts which fuelled my concern and prompted me to ask more questions.
Thanks anyway
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Old Jul 6th, 2004, 10:58 AM
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Credit card fraud will happen, some people will never experience it, then they're lucky, however, if you do it's not the end of the world you don't have to pay for it.

As for the cash thing, if you get a taxi from airport to the hotel there's very little chance of anything being stolen. Once at the hotel, deposit the bulk of it in the safe, no problems.
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Old Jul 6th, 2004, 12:29 PM
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Credit card fraud is quite rare - considering the number of transactions - and is no more common in europe than other places. Simply use your card as you please and don;t worry about it. Just be sure you have at least one other card with you - so you have a back-up in case any problem occurs ( and if it does its far more likely to be computer glitch than fraud).

(I have only once had credit card fraud - on an AmEx account - unfortuitously 3 days before I was leaving for europe and they not only removed all of the chages immediately - but very kindly offered to overnight me a new card at no charge - so I would have this as one of the cards to take with me. It turned out the fraud was comitted by an employee of a company I had used to order a gift by mail.)
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Old Jul 6th, 2004, 12:35 PM
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My one input to this discussion to be sure to carry with you a copy of all your cc or dc numbers and the phone numbers need to call them in as lost or stolen. Tuck those away in your suit case and it will make dealing with stolen cards a lot easier.
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Old Jul 6th, 2004, 12:36 PM
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I wanted to say thank you for all the constructive comments I've received with regard to my query. The less said about the sarky ones the better.
Let me put the issue into perspective. I have used my credit with happy abandon in Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban for years. I've used it at shops, restaurants, bed and breakfasts and wine estates. I've also used it to buy books and dvds in South Africa and overseas. No problem.
I only became seriously concerned, and concerned enough to post this query, when I started reading the numerous comments on credit card fraud on this forum. And these comments were from travellers, not bank staff.
I love to shop and spend and that won't change, but it's good to aware and gather advice where you can.
Thank you.
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Old Jul 6th, 2004, 12:37 PM
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Lisa, Realize that people are more likely to post a negative experience. For example, I don't come home from each trip to Europe, get on Fodors and say "Hey I didn't have any credit card fraud happen to me!".
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Old Jul 6th, 2004, 12:54 PM
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Sure Suze, except for that thread on people who haven't lost checked luggage?
The point of my last message was to explain why I had posed the original query - because warnings on the forum led to concern.
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Old Jul 6th, 2004, 05:21 PM
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We have taken 5 trips to Europe in the past few years, and have always used the cc for bigger expenses and debited cash every couple of days for smaller expenses, without any problems. I, too, have been reading recent posts about fraud and started to fret about our upcoming trip. (Is fret really a word?!) We were in the bank last weekend, so I asked about setting up an account separate from my linked checking and savings account to limit the amount that could be stolen. Our banker reassured us that we would not be responsible for any fraudulent charges, so I am putting the worry out of my mind and am getting back to the fun stuff, like planning.

(The newspaper delivery man stole credit card checks from my sister's mailbox in Putnam County NY and tried to spend thousands of dollars on her card. So you just never know!)
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Old Jul 6th, 2004, 06:13 PM
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Allisonm...

Here the lowdown on the problem. If your credit card number is compromised, it's no real problem. No money actually ever comes out of your account and the fraudulent charges are removed from the account.

But with a debit card....say the debit card number is compromised and somebody goes off on a spending spree. Now the "disadvantage" so to speak to the thief is that he is limited to whatever is in your chequing account at the time although some chequing accounts have credit (line of credit) provisions and may allow automatic transfers from savings accounts to cover overdrafts.

And yes the money will be refunded in due course. But in that time, checks you have written might turn to rubber embarassing you and you won't have money in your account to pay other bills while the money is sort of held in limbo.

I don't understand the philosophy, and forgive me I don't mean to criticize, of using credit cards for big purchases and debit cards for small ones which is what I think you said. You can have your debit number compromised when making a small purchase just as readilly as when making a big purchase. I say the hell with it. I just use my credit card for all purchases whether it be £1.99 at McDonald's or my £95 hotel room or whatever in the middle. After all, when a company puts those credit card decals on its windows, it has raised its prices to cover the expenses of taking credit cards. So why pay for a service I am not receiving?

Cheers
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Old Jul 6th, 2004, 06:36 PM
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If the debit card is not tied to a VISA or M/C, it can only be used for ATM transfers and cannot be compromised unless someone has your PIN. Just used for drawing cash out of your checking account.

Use your Credit Card for all purchases. Works for me.

If the credit card number is compromised, you just dispute the charges with your CC company. No out of pocket vis a vis the emptying of your checking account and then the hassle of getting it replaced.

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Old Jul 6th, 2004, 06:46 PM
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Then forget about the luggage and credit cards and do not read Fodors LOL

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