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Preventing Fraud while Traveling.

Geodoc

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2018 (across Pyrenees, then Sarria to SdC), CF 2019 (SJPdP to Finisterra & Muxia), CI 2019
Hi all,

Other than being a writer (novelist and new vegan cookbook for Peregrinos), my day job is as a fraud investigator. I've recently read a couple of discussions about possible fraud on the Camino (cards, theft, etc.), so I thought I'd take a minute and pass on some information that might prove useful in preventing Peregrinos from fraud.

At ATMs
  • Always check to ensure the ATM does not have a skimmer attached to it. Doe this by physically grabbing the card slot and moving it around. If it pops off, you might have a problem.
  • Cover your hand and keyboard from above (or the side) when entering your PIN. It prevents people/cameras from seeing what numbers you pressed.
  • Cover the PIN keyboard with your hand for a couple of seconds after entering your PIN, placing your fingers on all keys. This prevents anyone from using thermal imagery from identifying your PIN.
  • Do not let people stand close behind you or to your side when accessing the ATM. They could either copy your PIN, steal your info, or grab the cash and run.
  • Use ATMs in the daytime - avoid nighttime withdrawals (security issue).
  • Be sure to remove your cash, card, and receipt and store them in the appropriate places.
  • It's best not to use stand-alone ATMs. Sometimes, they're set up just to get people to enter their card and PIN (i.e., criminals will put out a fake ATM and people, thinking it's real, will try to get money, which will not be forthcoming, but their information will have been entered, which makes it easy for the criminals to steal from you).
  • It's best to use ATMs at banks during business hours. That way, if there's a problem, you can get it more readily resolved.
  • Do not use debit cards at gas stations. Never. Never, ever. Never, ever, ever! Use only cash or credit cards.
Cards
  • Most credit and debit cards now come with chip technology, which is and added safety feature. There's a lot out there on people stealing chip technology information, and selling RFID (radio frequency identification) proof card sleeves, wallets, purses, and bags. If it makes you comfortable, get one of those (but to steal the info, somebody has to be reeeeeal close to get the data). I, personally, don't bother.
  • Carry two to three cards. I recommend one debit and two credit cards. Be sure the credit cards are kept separate. One could be in a money clip with a sleeve and the other in a money belt/wallet. I like the wallet type, which attaches to your belt and goes inside your pants. Any loose cards should be in a front pocket and wrapped with a rubber band. It's more difficult for somebody to reach into your front pocket unnoticed, and the tug from a rubber band catching on the clothes will also be a good way of noticing something is awry.
  • Notify your bank/credit card company that you'll be on the Camino (and where ever else you might be traveling). Give them start and end dates.
  • Never, ever let your cards out of your sight. Never. Never ever. Never ever ever!
  • Sign your card, and put "Ask for ID" in the same signature space. If asked for ID when presenting the card, say, "thank you for asking" (Gracias por me preguntas - grammar?). If not asked, show your ID anyway. In most place, merchants should be asking for verification (not that they do, people being people).
  • If you have to use your credit card at a gas station, follow the same procedure you would with an ATM machine (check the slot) and do NOT use the pumps furthest from the gas station office (that's the one skimmers will put the skimming machines on).
  • As an aside, try to secure a credit card with no international fees.

Cash
  • Carry the amount you need (but don't leave yourself in a position where you've run out on a weekend).
  • Cash should be carried in various locations on your person. Your daily needs in your front pocket in a money clip or wrapped in a rubber band. More than your daily needs should be in your money wallet and/or in a money belt (I prefer to use both). You can also put a second day's needs in another pocket (just in case).
  • Don't flash large sums of money about. It's too tempting.
  • Don't stand on the sidewalk and count your cash. If you get it from an ATM, you should find a secure spot to count it (preferably inside the bank).

Online Banking
  • Avoid using free, unsecured wifi for any banking - be it bank or credit card companies (and certainly not any retirement accounts!)
  • If you must do online banking, ensure you have a secure account and VPN. A secure account will have an "s" at the end of the "http" so it will look like this: https://yourbank.com
  • The best, safest method for any online banking at this time is to use a smartphone (a tablet/laptop tethered, either via cable or bluetooth works, but it's not quite as secure as just using the phone).
  • Make sure your bank knows you're out of the country (see the comment in the cards section) and whatever travel plans you've made.
  • Check your accounts using the safest way possible (cell phone) for fraud every several days. Your bank will typically give you 30 days to report any fraud (the amount of time a transaction takes place before you receive a statement in the mail). I like to do this when I'm way out in the country, away from others, with good cell phone reception.
  • Set up automatic bill payments before leaving home.
  • Online banking should be limited to paying any necessary bills that cannot be set up automatically and checking for fraud. Limit your time doing this.
  • Do not let anyone stand near or behind you when accessing your bank account online. Never. Never, ever. Never, ever, ever!

Identification
  • I recommend carrying at least two pierces of ID (a passport and a driver's license/government issued identification card). If you can, carry three forms of ID when traveling internationally - a driver's license, passport, and national ID/passport card.
  • Carry the ID separately.
  • Your passport should be in your money belt, tucked away from sight. If you need to pull it out to sign in at an albergue, hostel, or hotel, request to use the bathroom/washroom/bano beforehand. Only remove your money belt when nobody can see you doing it. Immediately return your money belt to its hiding place before leaving the room and returning to the public eye.
  • As with your credit/debit cards, your smaller ID card should be carried in your front pocket, either in a money clip with card sleeves, or wrapped in a rubber band.

In the Event Things Go Bad
  • You should email yourself the international contact telephone number for your bank and credit card company. In the event you lose your card or you discover it's been compromised, immediately call and cancel the card. Request a replacement be sent. You'll need to work out with your bank/credit card company where to send it to.
  • If you lose your passport, contact the nearest consulate for a replacement. You will need your passport number for this, so either have a laminated copy with you (on your person or seriously tucked away in your pack) or email yourself the number before leaving home. You can also leave a copy with a trusted family member or friend at home and call them to get it.

These are just a few tips to prevent fraud (trust me, there are many more I could go into - heck, there are entire books devoted to this stuff).

Buen Camino.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
Thanks for your tips. However, I was told by my French bank BNP Paribas that "see my ID" or "ask for ID" was unacceptable.
 

Geodoc

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2018 (across Pyrenees, then Sarria to SdC), CF 2019 (SJPdP to Finisterra & Muxia), CI 2019
Thanks for your tips. However, I was told by my French bank BNP Paribas that "see my ID" or "ask for ID" was unacceptable.

Are you referring to in lieu of a signature? In that case, yes. Your signature should always be on the card. I just add "Ask for ID" after that. YMMV.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues May 2019
WOW, great tips. I leave on monday and have called my credit card companies to let them know I was going overseas. Both companies said that I didn't need to let them know as my credit cards had chips on them and so were safe to use where ever. Should I call them back and insist they take my travel information?
 

Geodoc

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2018 (across Pyrenees, then Sarria to SdC), CF 2019 (SJPdP to Finisterra & Muxia), CI 2019
I would, or at least file your travel plans on their online fraud prevention page (if they have one). Most banks and credit card companies have websites that allow you to enter travel dates (and sometimes locations). Wells Fargo has a great page for this.
 

Icacos

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
My son let his bank know that he would be in India. Someone, on the other side of the country (Canada) ran up $4,000 worth of charges on his card and the bank didn’t pick up on it.
 

Telboyo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
I intend to leave the UK the day Before Brexit and walkMarch -April 2019 Camino Frances
Why do you suggest people don't use debit cards a gas stations? Ok,I have not used a plastic debit/ credit card for payment should since I switched over to Google pay. Every transaction is contactless and I get instant notification from both the bank and Google, I don't understand why you target gas stations. If the amount on the machine does not match the amount of fuel I have put in my car I just don't pay.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Are you referring to in lieu of a signature? In that case, yes. Your signature should always be on the card. I just add "Ask for ID" after that. YMMV.
According to this article it's riskier to show your ID.

"While merchants may ask for ID to prevent credit card fraud, your personal information is at risk when you show your ID. Remember that your name, address, driver's license number, and sometimes social security number is printed on your driver's license. This is just the information a dishonest cashier needs to steal your identity. Many credit card fraudsters are successful with just your zip code and credit card number."

Besides, many times the merchant never actually touches your card, as you insert it into the payment terminal yourself.

I have not used a plastic debit/ credit card for payment should since I switched over to Google pay. Every transaction is contactless and I get instant notification from both the bank and Google,
I use Google Pay on my phone whenever possible now, especially in Europe, since my US credit cards don't have PINs.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Very useful reminders, thank you, @Geodoc.
since my US credit cards don't have PINs.
This surprises me. I live in Europe and have not travelled outside Europe in the last 6 years or so. My credit and debit cards had PINs for absolute ages, and chips, too, and it seems to be the same for everyone else I know. I cannot recall a time anymore where anyone looked at the signature on the back of my cards. Every payment, even minor ones in shops or in restaurants, are by machine and PIN, whether debit or credit card. No one takes the card from me at all. In Spain along the Camino Francés, a lot is paid in cash of course but whenever I paid by card, the system „knew“ that my issuing bank requires a PIN and I had to enter it.

Writing „please check my ID“ next to the signature sounds like a story from a different age to me. I understand, though, that this may be useful in other parts of the world.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Very useful reminders, thank you, @Geodoc.
This surprises me. I live in Europe and have not travelled outside Europe in the last 6 years or so. My credit and debit cards had PINs for absolute ages, and chips, too, and it seems to be the same for everyone else I know. I cannot recall a time anymore where anyone looked at the signature on the back of my cards. Every payment, even minor ones in shops or in restaurants, are by machine and PIN, whether debit or credit card. No one takes the card from me at all. In Spain along the Camino Francés, a lot is paid in cash of course but whenever I paid by card, the system „knew“ that my issuing bank requires a PIN and I had to enter it.

Writing „please check my ID“ next to the signature sounds like a story from a different age to me. I understand, though, that this may be useful in other parts of the world.
We have always had PINs for debit cards but it's unusual for US bank credit cards to have pins, which I don't understand either. Many merchants in the US don't require signatures for purchases for smaller amounts. And what constitutes a "small amount" varies by merchant - some as low as. $25, others up to $100.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
We have always had PINs for debit cards but it's unusual for US bank credit cards to have pins, which I don't understand either. Many merchants in the US don't require signatures for purchases for smaller amounts. And what constitutes a "small amount" varies by merchant - some as low as. $25, others up to $100.
Another difference, I think, is that payment by credit card, or even owning one, is more common in the US than in Europe, with the exception of the UK perhaps. I pay nearly every purchase by debit card, also when I’m in another EU country. For a long time, merchants preferred this because it involved less processing cost for them. Although this may have changed by now. I recently paid my stay in an albergue in Spain by card and asked whether they preferred debit or credit card and they said that it didn’t matter to them.
 

Glamgrrl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Travel318
I’m no travel pro but it seems most skimmers are placed on gas pumps. Why? Because they can grab many transactions. And it’s a place where almost every person uses a card. Our last several trips in Europe we mainly used Apple Pay either from our phone or Apple Watch. A huge difference is that almost all vendors have a portable credit/debit card machine that they bring to your table. Even the tube in London now lets you pay via Apple or google pay.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Like @Telboyo, I was surprised about the problem at gas stations. I’m not saying that it doesn’t happen here but it doesn‘t seem to be so rampant that it is common knowledge. Again, could it depend on technology that is being introduced by the payment card companies/banks and adopted by merchants at different times and to a different degree? Buzzword here seems to be the EMV standard („chip“). I’ve not really followed this stuff but a quick dip into Wikipedia (DE this time) gives me the impression that it was introduced here a long time ago and only more recently and more slowly in the US. Which surprises me, too. But then we‘ve also all but abolished cheques ages ago.

Does anyone know whether this is actually a particular risk in Spain?
 
Last edited:

MichaelF4

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese Coastal 2017
Camino Frances 2018
Camino Frances, Camino Invierno 2019
I would add that it is a good idea to photograph and photocopy all your ID and credit cards and leave a copy at home and keep a copy somewhere safe with you.
 

marylynn

Ontario Canada
Camino(s) past & future
2011-2019 CF, Arles/Aragones
2015 & 2017 HærvejenDK
These are good tips- thanks! I also register with the Government of Canada before I travel out of the country. It makes it easier to get help in case of an emergency - natural disaster, civil unrest, injury, etc.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
Don't forget that each of your Google accounts (I have 4 :() allows you to have 15Gb of storage on Google Drive - a good place to store those scanned documents like driving licences, passports, card numbers/important bank phone numbers, and insurance documents (as well as the thousands of Camino photos you'll be taking!)

Strong passwords - it goes without saying (or should do). Check the strength of yours on a reputable site like howsecureismypassword - they don't have to be hard to remember or complex mix of numbers and characters. ukulele}phone@biscuit? was an example I gave to a friend at ukulele club (she said she could never remember long passwords) - easy to remember as at the ukulele club we have to switch off our phones and get biscuits at coffee time - it's estimated that a computer would take 1 sextillion years to crack this one!
Or you could just use a password manager ;)

There are alternatives to being tied to Google of course!
 

Geodoc

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2018 (across Pyrenees, then Sarria to SdC), CF 2019 (SJPdP to Finisterra & Muxia), CI 2019
Why do you suggest people don't use debit cards a gas stations?

Because gas stations (at least in the US and Canada) are one of the most common areas for placing skimmers, particularly the pump furthest from the gas station attendant.
 

Telboyo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
I intend to leave the UK the day Before Brexit and walkMarch -April 2019 Camino Frances
Because gas stations (at least in the US and Canada) are one of the most common areas for placing skimmers, particularly the pump furthest from the gas station attendant.
 

Telboyo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
I intend to leave the UK the day Before Brexit and walkMarch -April 2019 Camino Frances
So why the difference between a debit or credit card? In the UK the Credit card company is only liable for non delivery of goods after you spend 100 GBP. Even we don't spend that much on fuel. There is usually a limit of 99 GBP on fuel purchases .
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
So why the difference between a debit or credit card? In the UK the Credit card company is only liable for non delivery of goods after you spend 100 GBP. Even we don't spend that much on fuel. There is usually a limit of 99 GBP on fuel purchases .
Besides a good pilgrim wouldn't be buying gas/petrol from any pump ;)
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Excellent summary of good tips. Of course there are a few debatable ones, but that is to be expected. Neither of my banks in Canada wants to know about my travel plans anymore. They used to, but not now.
The best, safest method for any online banking at this time is to use a smartphone
Just a comment that might seem stupidly obvious to some people, but not to everyone... I think you mean that it is safest to use a smartphone that is using its telephone connection and data, with wifi turned off. (Using your phone connected to wifi does not do the trick.) Can you confirm my undertstanding?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Off topic here but something that may be of some help understand the lateness of the US adopting the chip in credit cards - it was an expense to prevent fraud. The problem is that there are four entities involved, the card company, the bank issuing the card, merchants and the consumer. Each prefers that someone else be liable for fraud. The consumer ended up getting away with this cost except for small amounts like $50. But why would the card company pay lots of money putting in chips when it could get the banks and merchants to pick up the costs of frauds?
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Off topic here but something that may be of some help understand the lateness of the US adopting the chip in credit cards - it was an expense to prevent fraud. The problem is that there are four entities involved, the card company, the bank issuing the card, merchants and the consumer. Each prefers that someone else be liable for fraud. The consumer ended up getting away with this cost except for small amounts like $50. But why would the card company pay lots of money putting in chips when it could get the banks and merchants to pick up the costs of frauds?
But the thing is that now that most of our cards have chips, why do they still not issue PINs for credit cards?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
But the thing is that now that most of our cards have chips, why do they still not issue PINs for credit cards?
In the US it is probably still an issue of what entity is going to put up the money for the costs. For example, if a bank can pass on the fraudulent charges to either the merchant or to the card company it is not going to be the one to require a PIN. By the way, I don't think any card company now requires a signature but the banks and/or merchants may, thus the signing for various amounts at various places.

I guess another problem may be that the various entities are Incorporated in different states and it make take federal law or regulations to make the PIN usage happen. A credit card I haven't used in years may have a PIN (can't remember) but that might only be so it can be used like a debit card at an ATM.
 

Geodoc

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2018 (across Pyrenees, then Sarria to SdC), CF 2019 (SJPdP to Finisterra & Muxia), CI 2019
So why the difference between a debit or credit card? In the UK the Credit card company is only liable for non delivery of goods after you spend 100 GBP. Even we don't spend that much on fuel. There is usually a limit of 99 GBP on fuel purchases .

Because merchants wind up eating the cost of credit card fraud, not the consumer. The consumer can have their bank account cleaned out without much recourse in many instances. The purpose is to prevent fraudsters from gaining access to bank accounts.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I would add that it is a good idea to photograph and photocopy all your ID and credit cards and leave a copy at home and keep a copy somewhere safe with you.
When I was much younger and traveling in Europe (in the days before smart phones and email), I was advised to carry photocopies of my ID. That way, if my passport was stolen while I was abroad, it would be easier to apply for a replacement to get me home. Of course, there are only so many really safe places and it makes no sense to keep the photocopy in the money belt alongside the original. When the bag that happened to contain the photocopies was stolen, someone tried to apply for a passport in my name. They caught him and he was unsuccessful, but it has taken me longer to get my new passports ever since.

Of course, now we can keep the copies as photos in our Google Drives, access them from anywhere, and never have to worry about them getting stolen.
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
Never used a pin with my credit cards in Spain, England or Ireland. They just asked for a signature. And I don’t use any contactless cards so don’t have to worry about RFID skimming (different technology than regular US chipped cards).
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia (May 2016)
C. Frances (Sept 2017)
Camino Portugues (June 2019)
Very useful reminders, thank you, @Geodoc.
This surprises me. I live in Europe and have not travelled outside Europe in the last 6 years or so. My credit and debit cards had PINs for absolute ages, and chips, too, and it seems to be the same for everyone else I know. I cannot recall a time anymore where anyone looked at the signature on the back of my cards. Every payment, even minor ones in shops or in restaurants, are by machine and PIN, whether debit or credit card. No one takes the card from me at all. In Spain along the Camino Francés, a lot is paid in cash of course but whenever I paid by card, the system „knew“ that my issuing bank requires a PIN and I had to enter it.

Writing „please check my ID“ next to the signature sounds like a story from a different age to me. I understand, though, that this may be useful in other parts of the world.

I've traveled and lived in various parts of the world and, everywhere but in the US, restaurants will bring a PIN pad for you to enter your code at your table when you are ready to pay your bill. It is an insane practice in the US that most wait staff take your card away from you and bring it back with the check. (Then you add a tip after they have presumably run the card which is also confusing to me). Considering the staff turn-over in most restaurants, it's amazing to me that this is still the practice.
 

CaminoHolly

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Spring 2022
Hi all,

Other than being a writer (novelist and new vegan cookbook for Peregrinos), my day job is as a fraud investigator. I've recently read a couple of discussions about possible fraud on the Camino (cards, theft, etc.), so I thought I'd take a minute and pass on some information that might prove useful in preventing Peregrinos from fraud.

At ATMs
  • Always check to ensure the ATM does not have a skimmer attached to it. Doe this by physically grabbing the card slot and moving it around. If it pops off, you might have a problem.
  • Cover your hand and keyboard from above (or the side) when entering your PIN. It prevents people/cameras from seeing what numbers you pressed.
  • Cover the PIN keyboard with your hand for a couple of seconds after entering your PIN, placing your fingers on all keys. This prevents anyone from using thermal imagery from identifying your PIN.
  • Do not let people stand close behind you or to your side when accessing the ATM. They could either copy your PIN, steal your info, or grab the cash and run.
  • Use ATMs in the daytime - avoid nighttime withdrawals (security issue).
  • Be sure to remove your cash, card, and receipt and store them in the appropriate places.
  • It's best not to use stand-alone ATMs. Sometimes, they're set up just to get people to enter their card and PIN (i.e., criminals will put out a fake ATM and people, thinking it's real, will try to get money, which will not be forthcoming, but their information will have been entered, which makes it easy for the criminals to steal from you).
  • It's best to use ATMs at banks during business hours. That way, if there's a problem, you can get it more readily resolved.
  • Do not use debit cards at gas stations. Never. Never, ever. Never, ever, ever! Use only cash or credit cards.
Cards
  • Most credit and debit cards now come with chip technology, which is and added safety feature. There's a lot out there on people stealing chip technology information, and selling RFID (radio frequency identification) proof card sleeves, wallets, purses, and bags. If it makes you comfortable, get one of those (but to steal the info, somebody has to be reeeeeal close to get the data). I, personally, don't bother.
  • Carry two to three cards. I recommend one debit and two credit cards. Be sure the credit cards are kept separate. One could be in a money clip with a sleeve and the other in a money belt/wallet. I like the wallet type, which attaches to your belt and goes inside your pants. Any loose cards should be in a front pocket and wrapped with a rubber band. It's more difficult for somebody to reach into your front pocket unnoticed, and the tug from a rubber band catching on the clothes will also be a good way of noticing something is awry.
  • Notify your bank/credit card company that you'll be on the Camino (and where ever else you might be traveling). Give them start and end dates.
  • Never, ever let your cards out of your sight. Never. Never ever. Never ever ever!
  • Sign your card, and put "Ask for ID" in the same signature space. If asked for ID when presenting the card, say, "thank you for asking" (Gracias por me preguntas - grammar?). If not asked, show your ID anyway. In most place, merchants should be asking for verification (not that they do, people being people).
  • If you have to use your credit card at a gas station, follow the same procedure you would with an ATM machine (check the slot) and do NOT use the pumps furthest from the gas station office (that's the one skimmers will put the skimming machines on).
  • As an aside, try to secure a credit card with no international fees.

Cash
  • Carry the amount you need (but don't leave yourself in a position where you've run out on a weekend).
  • Cash should be carried in various locations on your person. Your daily needs in your front pocket in a money clip or wrapped in a rubber band. More than your daily needs should be in your money wallet and/or in a money belt (I prefer to use both). You can also put a second day's needs in another pocket (just in case).
  • Don't flash large sums of money about. It's too tempting.
  • Don't stand on the sidewalk and count your cash. If you get it from an ATM, you should find a secure spot to count it (preferably inside the bank).

Online Banking
  • Avoid using free, unsecured wifi for any banking - be it bank or credit card companies (and certainly not any retirement accounts!)
  • If you must do online banking, ensure you have a secure account and VPN. A secure account will have an "s" at the end of the "http" so it will look like this: https://yourbank.com
  • The best, safest method for any online banking at this time is to use a smartphone (a tablet/laptop tethered, either via cable or bluetooth works, but it's not quite as secure as just using the phone).
  • Make sure your bank knows you're out of the country (see the comment in the cards section) and whatever travel plans you've made.
  • Check your accounts using the safest way possible (cell phone) for fraud every several days. Your bank will typically give you 30 days to report any fraud (the amount of time a transaction takes place before you receive a statement in the mail). I like to do this when I'm way out in the country, away from others, with good cell phone reception.
  • Set up automatic bill payments before leaving home.
  • Online banking should be limited to paying any necessary bills that cannot be set up automatically and checking for fraud. Limit your time doing this.
  • Do not let anyone stand near or behind you when accessing your bank account online. Never. Never, ever. Never, ever, ever!

Identification
  • I recommend carrying at least two pierces of ID (a passport and a driver's license/government issued identification card). If you can, carry three forms of ID when traveling internationally - a driver's license, passport, and national ID/passport card.
  • Carry the ID separately.
  • Your passport should be in your money belt, tucked away from sight. If you need to pull it out to sign in at an albergue, hostel, or hotel, request to use the bathroom/washroom/bano beforehand. Only remove your money belt when nobody can see you doing it. Immediately return your money belt to its hiding place before leaving the room and returning to the public eye.
  • As with your credit/debit cards, your smaller ID card should be carried in your front pocket, either in a money clip with card sleeves, or wrapped in a rubber band.

In the Event Things Go Bad
  • You should email yourself the international contact telephone number for your bank and credit card company. In the event you lose your card or you discover it's been compromised, immediately call and cancel the card. Request a replacement be sent. You'll need to work out with your bank/credit card company where to send it to.
  • If you lose your passport, contact the nearest consulate for a replacement. You will need your passport number for this, so either have a laminated copy with you (on your person or seriously tucked away in your pack) or email yourself the number before leaving home. You can also leave a copy with a trusted family member or friend at home and call them to get it.

These are just a few tips to prevent fraud (trust me, there are many more I could go into - heck, there are entire books devoted to this stuff).

Buen Camino.
What book would you recommend? Thank you. This is really helpful.
 

Geodoc

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2018 (across Pyrenees, then Sarria to SdC), CF 2019 (SJPdP to Finisterra & Muxia), CI 2019
A good resource is Amazon. Do a search using the words "consumer fraud prevention ". Many books will pop up.
 

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