On the Road

Credit Card Fraud

Really, given the number of ways you can be scammed abroad via your credit card it almost seems a bit dumb to ever use it. Back home, it’s unlikely that the waiter who takes your credit card will make a note of the name, number and expiry date to later log into porn sites. It would be too easy to trace him.

And why the hell is your name on your card anyway? You know who you are – why should a scamster?

In the third world though no one will have any qualms about, say, adding extra items to your list of purchases. Many a traveler has returned home to find a carpet waiting for him from that friendly merchant in India. Who’s ever going to bother tracking down Flying Carpet Enterprises in Bombay for $500?

Moral of the story? Don’t ever lose sight of your credit card and try to pay with cash whenever you can.

But even ATM cards can be scammed abroad by a variety of techniques. Aside from the rumours of new gadgets that can be inserted into ATM machines to copy cards and pin numbers, there are other scams in practice. The simplest is for a kid to offer to help you as you negotiate a bank machine in a foreign language. When your money comes out it’s snatched away from you and disappears along with your helper.

Another scam is that someone can put something in the cash slot to block the arrival of the notes. Once you’ve left, scratching your head, the scammer comes along, takes out the blockage and collects the cash.