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Harris Group Realty Blog 
Tuesday, July 27 2021
Keeping You, and Your Financials, Safe This Summer

Tis the season of travel, and that means that you might be swiping that credit card in different states or pulling out cash from ATMs you’ve never used before. This also means that you could be opening yourself up to virtual threats you would either-wise not encounter. Barbara was recently traveling and when she got home, she found several charges on her credit card that did not belong to her. They started off small and rather innocuous- most likely waiting to see if she would notice and gearing up for a bigger purchase down the road. This frustrating incident for Barbara got us thinking… how can you protect yourself and your assets while traveling? Here are a few ideas we’d like to share:

  1. Do NOT sign the back of your credit cards. Rather, on the signature line write “SEE PHOTO ID.”

  2. Gas stations are a common place that thieves will target for credit card theft (and where Barbara thinks her information was stolen while traveling.) Thieves will place card skimmers over the real card reader at the gas pump, picking up your information this way. There are a few routes to keep yourself safe against this. One is to only use pumps that are directly within the line of sight of the attendant. Avoid pumps in the far back or out of sight from the gas station worker, as these are more likely to be targeted and the card skimmer applied. Another sure-fire way to avoid this is to always pay in store and skip the pay-at-the-pump option all together.

  3. As a safety precaution, scan copies of everything that you keep in your wallet. Your I.D.s, your credit cards, your health insurance card… all of it. And make sure that you copy BOTH the front and the back of the cards. This way if your wallet is ever stolen, you know exactly what to replace and the numbers to contact those companies right away.

  4. In the unfortunate event that your wallet is stolen, file a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where it was stolen. This will show your credit card companies and the police that you were diligent on your end in getting this resolved.

  5. As well, if your credit cards are stolen, call the three national credit reporting organizations right away and place a fraud alert on your name and credit report. This way, in case those slippery thieves try to open other credit cards in your name, any company that checks your credit will know your information was stolen and will have to call you directly to get it approved.

We hope that while traveling you never run into any of these issues. But it is always better to be prepared than to find yourself in this situation and have no idea where to start in getting it resolved. We wish you all a summer of safe and happy traveling!

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