In a recent APACS study, overseas losses from credit or debit card fraud totaled 208 million sterling - over US 400 miilion dollars - in 2007, in the UK alone.
If you travel frequently, you will already understand the importance of protecting yourself from credit card fraud and theft. Newer technologies, such as chip-and-pin, are helping lower the risk of fraud in some areas around the world.
In areas with lower security measures, gangs and thieves infiltrate high traffic spending areas and attach bugging devices. These bugging devices scan the magnetic strip on credit or debit cards. The stolen credit card information can then be used by the thieves to make purchases.
Technology, like all things in life, is a two way street. As technologies continue to improve the quality of security required for fraud prevention, people work to hack those technologies to their advantage. Credit card companies and banks are on a continual search for new technology to help prevent fraud.
Holidays are supposed to be relaxing and fun. Unfortunate incidents, such as theft or personal injury, can cause your much-anticipated holiday to become a bad experience.
How do you protect yourself from fraud or theft in less technologically advanced areas? What measures can you take to ensure your personal safety as well as that of your valuables?
While making travel arrangements, study a map of the area. Choose an emergency meeting spot in case someone gets lost. Print or buy a local map and make sure everyone in your group knows how to read it. Mark special points of interest on the map and always make sure everyone knows where you're going to be.
Cell phones or walkie-talkies are an invaluable resource, especially for large groups or families. The easier you can stay in touch, the more worry-free fun you will have.
Take minimal luggage. The fewer bags you have to carry, the more easily you can maneuver through crowded areas and hotel hallways. Don't pack money, jewelry, electronics or important documents in luggage. Always pack these items in your carry-on bag or not at all. The more you take with you, the more you stand to lose.
Always travel in a group. When you are out and about, always have a friend with you. You are much less likely to be attacked or mugged if you have someone with you. Having a friend with you also carries the added benefit of having another set of eyes in case you're being followed or pick pocketed. Ask hotel staff if you should avoid certain areas. If you drove to your destination or have a rental car, don't leave personal belongings in your vehicle.
Always be sure to lock your room. Even if you are simply going down the hall for a snack, it is important to lock your door. Any time you are away from your room, it is susceptible to thieves. When you are relaxing in your room, the door should be locked. Thieves and gangs have been known to test hotel room doors to see if they can enter successfully. If they do manage to open your unlocked door, they may steal your valuables or even cause harm to you or a loved one if you interrupt them in their quest for money or valuables.
Use traveller's checks and credit cards in lieu of cash when possible. After you've returned from your vacation, keep an eye on your credit report, as well as your credit card and bank statements.
You never know when you may be the next victim of identity theft or credit card fraud. Keeping a close eye on your credit report, credit card and bank statements will give you the edge if your credit card is fraudulently charged.
Tribune Properties produce a series of European travel and holidays guides which includes Lanzarote holidays