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10 financial safety tips for vacation

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Most people think summer is the only time to take a vacation. But a lot of people take vacations in the fall and winter when flights and hotels are less expensive and tourist destinations aren’t as crowded.

A vacation is a great time for relaxation and spending time with family and friends. The last thing you want is to stress about fraud and have your vacation ruined because of a lost or stolen credit card. You can usually avoid this headache if you take a few extra steps when preparing for a trip or are more aware of your surroundings. Here are few tips to help prevent you from becoming a victim of fraud on vacation.

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  1. Protect cards as if they are cash. Do not leave them unattended anywhere, such as in a car, restaurant or even at the pool. If you are traveling, your cards should be with you at all times. Or you can put them in a secure location like a hotel safe.
  2. Never write down a personal identification number (PIN) – memorize it. Also, designate unique PINs for each card, and use random number, letter and symbol combinations when possible. Do not use easy to crack codes, such as a birth date, which could easily be found in your wallet.
  3. Don’t leave credit cards in your car’s glove compartment. An alarmingly high amount of all credit card thefts are from this area.
  4. Always check to make sure cards are returned when used at a store or restaurant. It’s easy to forget cards, especially when you’re on vacation. And it’s easy for servers or sales people to return the wrong card when they’re in a hurry.
  5. Don’t carelessly discard or leave documents that contain personal information in the open – including account numbers – such as car rental agreements or airline tickets.
  6. Do not give account numbers over the phone unless you have initiated the call. Most companies will only ask you to verify a portion of your personal information.
  7. Always take receipts and destroy any extra copies.
  8. If you travel overseas, let your card provider know about your plans to travel to a foreign country. There may be restrictions on using cards in some countries and a provider will be less likely to question the foreign transactions if prior notice is given.
  9. If you decide to shop online on vacation or need to update flight or hotel reservations online, be mindful of the websites you visit and what information you share. Always purchase from websites that start with https because this means it is a secure site. Also, be mindful when using public Wi-Fi networks. Internet connections that require a password are the safest. You don’t want that new eBook you ordered online costing you half your bank account.
  10. Most fraudulent use of cards takes place within a few days of their being lost or stolen. If your card is lost or stolen on vacation, immediately report it to the issuing bank or financial institution.

Mr. Rine serves as president of the Kansas City region and is responsible for managing the Kansas City commercial banking teams and partnering with other bank line of business leaders to implement the strategic plan for Kansas City. He is a member of the UMB Financial Services Board of Directors and the advisory director for UMB Bank, n.a. He joined UMB in 1994. Rine earned a Bachelor of Science from the Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo.

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