Valley First

Spring Break Fraud Prevention

Add “fraud prevention” to your spring break vacation checklist
March 25, 2014

Penticton, B.C.—When heading off on vacation, the last thing on your mind—and on your vacation checklist—is fraud prevention. But nothing can ruin a holiday like falling victim to fraud.

March is typically a high travel month due to spring break and, as it is also National Fraud Prevention Month, Lindzee Herring, senior manager of corporate security for Valley First, shares advice on how to avoid fraud while travelling.

“Many people drift into ‘relaxation-mode’ on vacation and forget to take the same anti-fraud precautions they’d normally take at home,” says Herring. “This can prove especially dangerous if you’re vacationing in countries that may not have the same focus on fraud prevention. It’s important to protect yourself and minimize the risks.”

Give your financial institution and credit card provider a heads up
“When you’re travelling out of country, make sure you tell your financial institution and credit card provider about your trip,” says Herring. “Financial institutions and credit card companies monitor transactions and some will block transactions from a foreign country and/or put a hold on the card if they’re concerned about potential fraud. When you give them a heads up, this will allow them to potentially minimize any impact to you during your vacation.”

Keep your guard up
“Start with the basics: make sure that you keep cash, cards and ID in a safe place like a sealed front pocket, money belt, or pouch and of course, leave your valuables at home,” says Herring. “Be discreet when accessing your cash or cards. And, when you’re making a payment, be alert for anything that appears out-of-place—like a card reader with additional equipment attached to it.”

Protect your cards
“In countries that have been slower to adopt card security features like chip technology, there’s generally a higher risk for card fraud,” says Herring. “Though I don’t recommend carrying large sums of cash while travelling, it’s wise to use cash in situations where you may be concerned about the security of your debit or credit card.”

Carry two forms of payment
“Carrying multiple payment options while travelling is the best way to ensure that you’re never stuck, should one payment method be declined, stolen or lost,” says Herring. “I suggest that one form of payment be a credit card with a low limit—if that card should be lost, stolen or compromised, the low limit will protect you from severe losses.”

Always double check
“Finally, I always tell people to keep an eye on their accounts for unusual activity, even while relaxing on vacation,” says Herring. “In the digital age, it’s easy to stay on top of your account activity if you have access to a basic internet connection or a mobile device. If you see something unusual, contact your financial services provider immediately—the sooner the better, regardless of where in the world you may be. By staying on top of your accounts you’ll be able to rest easy and enjoy your vacation to the maximum.”

About Valley First

Valley First is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union, which has 40 branches and 28 insurance offices throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. Led by Launi Skinner, First West has $7.1 billion in assets under administration, more than 171,000 members and close to 1,300 employees.

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