There’s no greater stress while travelling abroad than realising your money has been stolen. Not only can this potentially put you in a vulnerable situation, but basically it’s also just plain stressful especially when you have to make complaints, contact the bank and find out if and how it’s possible to recoup the money that was lost. But, there are ways to ensure that you aren’t left with the shock and inconvenience of having your money stolen at all. Here’s how to protect yourself from ATM scams while on holiday.
1. Don’t use your personal ATM cards
One of the greatest ways to protect yourself from ATM scams while on holiday is to make sure you have a designated debit or credit card that you only use during your trip. That means that you can allocate daily spending money and transfer this to your card from your personal account as you need it. That way, if something does go wrong and your card is stolen, then at least they won’t have access to all your funds, only a portion of what you planned to spend that day.
2. Look out for skimming devices
One great tip for avoiding ATM scams while on holiday is to be familiar with what skimming devices look like, that way you can avoid them at all costs. A skimmer is attached to where the card input area of the ATM machine is. Give it a good jiggle because if it’s loose or easily moved then it’s likely a skimmer. If that is the case, then step away from the machine and find another one because criminals often add the skimmer to collect your card details. They’ll also record video footage of you entering your pin code using a tiny camera on the machine and then sell your details or access it themselves to spend your hard-earned money. Here’s what some skimmers look like:
Image: Aaron Poffenburger/Flickr
3. Keep cards in a money belt
Whatever cards you do plan to use, make sure they’re kept safe and sound. The best place to put them is in a money belt that can be kept close to the body. That way pickpockets can’t simply steal your wallet and take your cards from you.
4. Identify ATM traps
As well as skimmers, there are also ATM traps to worry about, which are methods criminals use to lock your card into the ATM machine leading you to believe the card is jammed. One method they use is by inserting a piece of thread that locks your card inside, which they can then later retrieve after you’ve left to go inside the bank and make a complaint.
5. Wifi Zones and online banking
It’s a great idea to be aware of how much money you have in your account by checking online, but always make sure you are using a secure Wifi network when doing so. If you’re not, your bank details can be accessed and used. A rule of thumb is to only use Wifi networks that are secured with a password when accessing your bank details or any sensitive information.