Seven tips for safe holiday travel
Most companies utilize advanced fraud detection systems to identify atypical card transactions. If these systems identify sudden out-of-state spending patterns for example, they may assume fraud and temporarily suspend card use until charges are verified. To avoid the inconvenience and embarrassment of denied transactions, contact us to set up a travel alert.
Pack light! Whether flying or driving, it’s a pain to lug around tons of baggage or packages. Airlines can charge excessive fees for luggage, and even more for bags that exceed weight limits. Consider shipping gifts ahead of time, or better yet, buy gift cards. And while you may want to look like a million bucks, make sure it’s with costume jewelry, not the real stuff. Expensive jewelry and valuable items should be in a safe place at home while traveling.
When away for any holiday, have a trusted neighbor or family member watch your house, turn lights on, put away trash cans, and get your mail. Don’t display holiday gifts where they can be seen from a window. And of course, lock all doors and windows when you leave. You may even want to consider leaving a TV or radio on to deter unwanted visitors!
Petty theft is rampant in large cities, around airports, and in many favorite travel destinations. Keep cash to a minimum. If possible, rely more on credit or debit cards. If you are carrying cash, keep it close to you.
And while we’re on the subject of cards, try to limit the number of cards and personal information you carry in your purse or wallet. Save and check all receipts against your account statements. Some merchants will charge double what you actually signed for. Report lost or stolen cards and dispute any unauthorized transactions immediately. Never carry your Social Security card with you.
If you’re trapped in a snowstorm, stranded in an airport or need to be cheered up after a week with the in-laws, you’ll need a cell phone. Keep it with you and bring both a car and a wall charger so it’s ready to go, especially in an emergency situation.
And finally, if you’re rushing to that ATM because, well, everyone is rushing, take off the blinders and notice your surroundings. Is it safe? Is anyone watching you? Always cover the keypad when you enter your PIN at an ATM or while shopping. Memorize your PIN and visit ATMs during the day or in a well-lit, busy location. Stranger danger isn’t just for kids. Be cautious in parking lots and of strangers approaching you no matter where you are.
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