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Fraud Alert: Travel Scams

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Most thieves view travel fraud as a crime of opportunity and will look for the next mark – unless your behavior makes you too appealing to pass up.

How Banks Detect Travel Fraud

Banks are your ally in detecting fraud while traveling. For example, sometimes when you travel, you might find your card declined even though there's nothing wrong. That's because your bank detects spending patterns that differ from your norm. If you typically use your card in Boston, the bank might suspect suspicious activity if it's being used in Barcelona. Of course, that's for your safety, which is why it's wise to notify your bank when you intend to be traveling (more on that below).

However, often just being in another city won't trigger a bank alert, especially if you had previously charged airfare on the card. Instead, your bank will notice discrepancies in usage that could indicate a card has been compromised, such as when transactions in different parts of the country (or in different countries) appear close together in time.

 

How to Protect Yourself From Travel Fraud

The last thing you want to do on a trip is devote precious time to sorting out theft or transferring additional money. Here are steps you can take to protect yourself before, during, and after the trip to safeguard your funds.

Before the trip

  • Downsize your wallet to minimize the number of cards you carry. Try to consolidate all your activity to one or two cards, which means you have less to manage, both physically and logistically.
  • Make copies of the front and back of your card(s) so you can immediately call your bank if your card is lost or stolen. You should keep them in your hotel room (or in a different bag if you're on the road) so they don't get stolen if your wallet gets stolen.
  • Call Synovus to notify them of your travel plans so they won't be surprised when your card is used in a different location. Here is a list of all the numbers to use to contact Synovus. Print them out and keep them with you when you travel, just in case you need them.

During the trip

  • Be vigilant while traveling. Thieves look for distracted victims who make it easy for them to carry out their travel scams.
  • Make purchases on your credit card rather than carrying cash.
  • Keep your credit card and other valuables in a safe place and never leave them unattended.
  • Don't use an ATM in an unfamiliar place, especially at night.
  • If you travel by air, purchase something in the airport when you land so the bank has a record of where you are.
  • Remember, Synovus will never call, email or text you to ask for your personal information without you initiating an issue. If you receive a call or text message from someone claiming to be from Synovus, especially if you weren't expecting it, immediately call 1-888- SYNOVUS.

When you return home

  • Double-check that you still have all your cards.
  • Log into your mobile app and check all the charges to confirm they are actually yours. If you see anything questionable, call the bank right away to sort it out.
  • Find any wayward receipts that might be stashed in pockets or bags and shred them to keep your personal information private.

Traveling can open you up to new experiences, but don't let a travel scam be one of them. By taking some simple precautions and being attentive while you travel, you'll likely avoid one of travel's only downsides: travel fraud. (Unfortunately avoiding a sunburn is all on you.)

Want more information about safeguarding your credit cards? Read about common types of credit card fraud and how to protect yourself here.