The travel industry saw a spike in scams. How to protect yourself while abroad – Country

Chloe D’Agostini was at a co-worker’s cafe while living abroad when someone walked in, sat down next to her and blatantly stole her wallet from her handbag.

The 30-year-old woman from Toronto said she didn’t notice her wallet was missing until 20 minutes after she was packing her bags to go to lunch with a friend. Footage from the cafe’s security camera later confirmed the theft.

Within 30 minutes, thousands of dollars were transferred on various credit cards.

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D’Agostini then received a phone call from someone claiming to be Apple saying they had noticed suspicious activity with her Apple ID and asking if she could download software so they could can help. After a few minutes, D’Agostini assumed the call was suspicious and hung up. She then called Apple, who explained that they don’t call without a pre-booked appointment.

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While stealing and cheat happens everywhere, the challenge of experiencing it while traveling is that you can spend more time on your phone than basking in the sunbeams on the beach and you can’t go to your bank branch for direct classification. In other cases, you may have trouble dealing with an online travel scam before you can take off.

In TransUnion’s latest fraud report published in May, data showed that travel and industry saw a 59.9% increase in digital fraud attempts on transactions. from Canada and 13.3% globally.

The increase in digital travel fraud can be attributed to the economy approaching pre-pandemic levels, specifically in the travel industry.

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“Canadians are starting to feel more comfortable with the idea of ​​traveling again and scammers have started and turned their attention to the activity,” said Ted Trush, Director of Solutions Consulting at TransUnion Canada. sudden growth in this sector.

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Examples of digital fraud in this area include consumers traveling and having their credit cards stolen for the purpose of making fraudulent charges. Digital travel fraud also affects consumers directly on the web or mobile, such as through encounters with fake travel agents or hotel websites.

“Basically scammers move to where the money is. For example, mobile app traffic has steadily increased over the past decade, so scammers tend to focus their attention on that. When chip-and-pin was introduced on credit cards, scammers turned to online transactions because it was less protected,” said Trush.

He advises Canadians who are traveling to make sure they only give their banking information to legitimate businesses and websites.

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Trush also recommends that consumers read review sites for other customer reviews or complaints, as well as research prices for flights or accommodation and look for anomalies such as discount is too high.

“Consumers are also encouraged to pay attention to emails that appear to be out of place, as phishing attacks continue to be reported most frequently when it comes to scammers obtaining personal information,” he said. and private.

Caval Olson-Lepage, lead advisor, wealth at Affinity Credit Union, says that whenever you get an email or text message, you should ask yourself, “Am I expecting this? And, does this come from a legitimate source? “

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“I am very wary of clicking on links in emails. I would rather go on the legit site and look for that information and then click it on a link,” she said.

Apple wouldn’t comment on the specific case of D’Agostini, but the company’s website includes a warning about unwanted messages or requests for personal information: “It’s safer to assume that’s the case. is a scam and contact that company directly if you need to.”

Olson-Lepage also cautions against using public Wi-Fi for financial transactions, which can happen more when someone is traveling than when they are at home or work. She recommends setting up a virtual private network (VPN) before you travel to hide your online activity. Another option is to buy an international data plan from your carrier so you can avoid using Wi-Fi.

If you think you’ve been the victim of fraud or your information has been compromised, Olson-Lepage says contact your financial institutions immediately.

Trush added that TransUnion offers customers the ability to add a confirmed or potential fraud alert to their credit profile.

“This alerts creditors to take additional steps to verify your identity before deciding to extend credit and to provide the creditor with a contact phone number,” he said.

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While D’Agostini can expedite his credit card, the new RBC debit card must be sent by regular mail. It took three months for the card to arrive and D’Agostini said there was no trace.

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“Things like this are stressful when you’re under pressure and you need to access money,” says D’Agostini.

She said getting a phone call from the bank also makes you frustrated because the hold time is so long.

An RBC spokesperson said that when a new card is requested, RBC will process the request and the card will be sent through Canada Post. Processing is usually completed the next business day, but final delivery is up to Canada Post.

D’Agostini is not responsible for any fraudulent charges.

Her advice to others is to avoid carrying multiple credit cards in your wallet at once so all your accounts don’t get locked out if your wallet gets lost.

© 2022 Canadian Press

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