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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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We regret to inform you that your account has been compromised…now what?

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You can do everything right to secure your personal information, but your credit or debit card information can still be compromised. Unfortunately, retailers and restaurants can be victims of hackers just like individuals can. Except when an identity thief breaches a retailer’s point of sale (POS) system, more than one person is affected. The company’s system can hold hundreds, if not thousands, of card numbers and key card security details including card verification value (CVV) codes.

CVV Code

 

Exact location of the CVV number varies among the card brands. Consult your card’s instructions for the location of your card’s CVV code.

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Throughout a given year, you have a chance of having your information stolen in one of these security breaches. Reportedly 44.8 million records were breached in 2012. Companies continue to ramp up security measures and while they do a good job, the hackers find points of vulnerability and use malware to pull the credit/debit card information.

Fast food restaurants and small business systems are the most targeted. The high level of transactions makes fast food restaurants a prime target. Small businesses are usually targeted because they don’t always have the same robust security resources as bigger companies, but even large national retail chains can be a victim of these security issues.

When there is a security compromise at retailer or restaurant, it should not end up costing you any money. Your bank should take care of everything, from issuing you a new card and personal identification number (PIN) to recovering any lost funds.

Smart ChipThe current risk environment will not notably change until smart cards (also known as chip cards) are rolled out universally in the U.S. We should see this by the end of 2015. The chip card is different from the card with the magnetic stripe because there is a small microchip in the card with a dynamic security code continually changing, making it extremely difficult to counterfeit.

As a consumer, you have little control over these external events, but this shouldn’t stop you from using your credit/debit cards. You can help protect yourself, by regularly checking your online bank statements and taking advantage of any fraud alerts through SMS texting and emails offered by your bank. At the very least, check your paper statements each month for any suspicious activity. If you regularly monitor your accounts, you will be able to spot fraudulent activity and your bank can quickly fix the issue.

 

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Mr. Hanson serves as vice president and fraud manager in Card Operations. He is responsible for providing fraud detections, prevention, and investigation services to UMB’s credit and debit card customers. He joined UMB in 2010 with more than 15 years of credit card fraud prevention experiences. He earned a Bachelor of Science in political science from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah and a Master of Arts in national security affairs from the Naval Post-Graduate School in Monterey, Calif.



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