07-25-2014 08:55 AM
Unsuspecting tourists often make easy targets for thieves. Robert Siciliano, a Boston-based personal security and identity theft expert, offers tips for keeping your money safe and your mind at ease while traveling.
Lighten your wallet
"Only carry the credit cards you'll use and the minimal amount of cash you'll need," Siciliano says. The truth is you probably won't purchase souvenirs with your department store card, so don't take the chance of losing it to a thief.
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Tell USAA Bank about your travel plans to minimize chances of your credit card being blocked or flagged for unusual activity.
Purchase with plastic
Cash is irreplaceable, but many credit and debit cards, including those issued by USAA Bank, have zero-liability policies.  That means if you lose it, you're off the hook for unauthorized charges. Debit charges must be reported within 60 days of your statement.
Leave nothing lying around
Never leave anything of value in your hotel room. "The key cards and combinations are accessible to virtually any member of the staff," Siciliano says. He adds that many room safes have an override mechanism. As an alternative, ask management to store your valuables in the hotel's safe.
Hide in plain sight
If you intend to step away from your valuables in places like a beach or a rental car, make sure they are hidden in the least obvious spots. Siciliano recommends using "diversion safes," which are cleverly disguised as soda cans, books and other everyday items to throw off crooks.
Keep your connections private
Use caution connecting to personal accounts in public places like hotels or coffee shops, where your information can be stolen on un-encrypted, open Wi-Fi. Siciliano suggests downloading virtual private network software to help protect your data. He also recommends avoiding any public computer.
What do you do to help keep your money safe while traveling? Share your tips below.
You must notify us immediately of any unauthorized use.
Safety guidelines are not intended to be all inclusive, but are provided for your consideration. Please use your own judgment to determine what safety features/ procedures should be used in each unique situation.
Credit cards provided by USAA Savings Bank, other bank products provided by USAA Federal Savings Bank, both Member FDIC.
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