Imagine receiving this notification on your phone while overseas…
“SUCCESSFUL PAYMENT OF $2000 MADE TO UNIDENTIFIED MERCHANT”
Unfortunately, this was the case for a young Aussie traveller who was innocently exploring the beautiful city of Split, Croatia's second-largest city.
6 hours on the phone with NAB’s international line (without having our Europe & Uk Prepaid Travel Sim, Ouch!), 18 hours of frozen bank accounts, and what felt like a lifetime of hyperventilation techniques later, the money was successfully released back into their account.
Not exactly at the top of anyone's To-Do List: whilst visiting the picturesque country of Croatia (or any country for that matter!).
So how can you potentially avoid this happening to you whilst abroad?
Well, it's surprisingly easy.
Let us introduce you to what’s referred to as RFID Skimming.
RFID Skimming, or, Radio-frequency Identification Skimming, is a method criminals use to unlawfully obtain someone's credit card information using an RFID scanning device, similar to when making a contactless payment at a retail store.
Imagine exploring a brand new city, captivated by the unfamiliar architecture, when suddenly you feel someone brush something a little too aggressively over your back pocket.
Chances are, you just got skimmed.
Sounds pretty scary right?
Well, not necessarily…
It’s pretty easy to avoid being a victim of credit card skimming.
Luckily, through the experiences of others, we were able to put together a list of a few ways you can avoid becoming a casualty of this holiday-mood-killing crime:
Checking ATMs before using them
Always, ALWays, ALWAYS, double, triple, quadruple check every single ATM you use while overseas. Often times criminals will attach an ATM skimming device to the credit card intake slot which is usually disguised as part of the ATM. At a quick glance, these are easy to miss, but upon closer inspection, they’re very noticeable.
RFID blocking wallets are a pretty clever investment that could potentially save you, well, thousands of dollars. They act as an RFID protection shield designed to block the radio waves given off by RFID devices. This essentially means that when your credit cards are being stored in your wallet, you can go about your tourist activities stress-free.
ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings
This one might seem obvious but the reality of being in another country can oftentimes slip the mind especially if you’re out enjoying the nightlife (which is one of the more common places credit card fraud takes place!). It’s not uncommon for thieves to work in pairs, generally one will approach you asking a seemingly innocent question while the other is doing the dirty work skimming your pockets and/or bags. Always be on the lookout for these types of behaviours and stay vigilant whilst adventuring through foreign countries.
See? Not so bad.
Implement these travel strategies into your itinerary and protect yourself from receiving one of those dreaded transaction notifications.
Do you have any similar stories or other tips for avoiding credit card skimming? Share them in the comment section below!
If you’re travelling overseas, save yourself the time of looking for a prepaid SIM by getting a travel SIM from us before you fly! Click Here for a link to our entire collection.