Even though credit card frauds are very common, plastic money is something we cannot do without. For instance, credit cards come in really handy when traveling abroad. Imagine having to carry loads of foreign currency in your luggage or traveler’s cheques for that matter! Foreign tourists attract a lot of unwarranted attention anyway. If you were to compound the risk by carrying cash etc in your luggage, your trip could be ruined within hours.

Yes, it’s much simpler to just carry a plastic card in your pocket/wallet. But the possibility of credit card theft or loss can still not be ruled out. So are there any ways to safeguard yourself against credit card fraud/theft/loss during your trip abroad? Read on to find out…

• Before you leave for your travel destination, make two photocopies (front & back) of all the credit cards you/your family will be carrying. Hand over one of the copies to a friend/relative for safekeeping. Keep the second photocopy of each credit card with yourself. The point is to have exact details of each credit card with you, so that any theft/loss can be reported immediately.

• What do you do if your luggage gets stolen and you have kept the copies of your credit cards in the luggage? While the thief may not be able to swipe the photocopy of a credit card, he can surely use the information to shop online or on telephone! So when you make copies, make sure to block out information that you can easily remember. So block out your name, expiry date etc. This makes sure that nobody can use the copy to shop online.

• If you are traveling with your partner, make sure that both of you carry your individual cards. This will be important in case either of you loses a credit card or if one is stolen from you.

• Find out about automatic deactivation policy of the credit card company. For instance, some companies automatically deactivate a card if it is used more than 5-6 numbers of times in a day. This seems to be an indication of theft, so some companies have this policy. Since you would not want your card to get deactivated on it’s own in a foreign country, it is worthwhile to find out about your credit card company’s automatic deactivation policy before you leave.

• When you use your credit card in a foreign country, the company will charge you an exchange rate on the amount of foreign currency you spend through the credit card. Different companies have different exchange rate costs, so it is advisable to find out from your credit card company about their policy. If you have multiple cards, this will help you in deciding which one to carry and use in a foreign country, while paying minimum exchange rate.

• When shopping, make sure you are very careful with your plastic money. Never let it out of your sight.

• Before you go abroad, make sure you have no dues on the credit card. Having unpaid dues can get your service deactivated, while you are in a foreign country. Also, you should be aware of your credit limit so that you can control your spending when abroad.

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