Scammers, pickpockets, identity thieves, hackers – in the digital world, crooks come in too many shapes and sizes. In response, banks and credit unions beef up security. But as quickly as they build a better lock, bad actors build a better lockpick.

By some accounts, for every consumer dollar lost to fraud, financial institutions lose $4.41. To maximize security and minimize theft, we need accountholders to remain vigilant alongside us – especially as they travel.

Summer is the perfect opportunity to communicate simple data security and smart payment tips to your accountholders. Here are just a few of the top pointers we recommend.

Protecting Accountholders from Fraud When Traveling – Top Data Security & Payment Tips

As a provider of Core iQ automated marketing software, engineered specifically for banks and credit unions, Onovative understands the value of accountholder data. By integrating directly with your core, Core iQ creates hyper-targeted lists for precision campaigns – all while tracking conversions and measuring results across channels.

Feel free to share these tips with your accountholders before summer travel ramps up to full speed. When you go out of your way to proactively educate accountholders, they see your concern, note your care, and may even take some of the advice you provide.

Top Tip #1 – Alert Your Bank or Credit Union

Card issuers are evolving to meet the realities of an interconnected globe. In many cases, that includes transaction alerts and even card freezes during periods of suspicious activity. Whenever you travel, but especially when traveling internationally, it’s a good idea to alert your financial institution in advance.

By telling your bank or credit union where you’ll be and when, you retain secure access to your funds while keeping valuable safeguards in place. If the worst happens and a scammer gets your card info, a transaction alert can clue you in before the damage spirals out of control.

Top Tip #2 – Favor Digital Payment Methods & Cards Over Cash

Cash may have been king once upon a time, but in the 21st century, digital payment methods reign supreme. It’s always a good idea to carry a little bit of cash with you as you travel, especially when traveling abroad. But too much cash makes you an easy target, and if it’s lost, it’s likely lost for good.

Digital payment methods (tap-to-pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.) and modern cards have several advantages over folding money. For starters, these payment methods are packed with the latest advances in cyber security and data privacy.

Additionally, when using a card or digital payment method, you can monitor transactions, stop payment, and report suspicious activity before bad actors clear you out. Many banks, credit unions, and other card issuers may even reimburse you. The same is sadly not true of cash.

Top Tip #3 – Check Your Surroundings & Stay Vigilant

Tourism is a big business – both for legitimate establishments and the criminal element. Tourists, meanwhile, aren’t usually at the top of their game when traveling. On vacation, we’re often distracted (taking in the sights), unfamiliar with our surroundings, and possibly unfamiliar with the language being spoken.

Naturally, scammers and thieves are happy to exploit our discomfort, and they have several ways of doing so.


High-traffic areas are ideal hunting grounds for pickpockets. In some areas, you may see signs alerting you to pickpocket activity. If you see such a sign or fear for your wallet, refrain from touching the pocket or checking the bag where you keep it. In some cases, checking for your valuables is just what an observant pickpocket wants.

Credit Card Skimmers

A skimmer is a device resembling a card reader. They can be placed over ATMs, gas station card readers, or wherever else a card is used.

Before you swipe or insert your card, pull on the card reader to see if it comes loose. Wiggle it from side to side. If you’re able, check nearby card readers on similar machines and compare how they look. When in doubt, shop or withdraw money somewhere else.

Public Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is a valuable resource no matter where you are in the world. When traveling, connectivity usually comes at a premium. So, the allure of a public (and free) wi-fi network can be too good to pass up (and too good to be true).

As a best practice, never join wi-fi networks you don’t know. Regardless of what the network is named, it could be a hotspot launched by hackers to access your data. Scammers can use your connection to their network as a backdoor to sensitive financial and personal data. If you need wi-fi, get it from a trusted source, even if it means paying for it.

Other Scams

From New Orleans to Nepal, Boston to Budapest, local scams are diverse, unique, and convincing. Before traveling, search online for common scams at your destination. You should find plenty of tips from both recent travelers and local authorities on what to look out for.

Bonus Tip – Make Copies of Important Documents & Payment Methods

Do you know your passport number off the top of your head? How about the full 16 digits of your preferred credit card? If your most important physical documents are lost or stolen, how will you freeze accounts, prove your identity, or arrange your return trip home?

Before setting out on your trip or hitting the streets from your hotel, consider taking pictures of important documents (front and back) or even writing some information down. For an extra layer of security, keep these back-up copies (and the rest of your valuables) in the hotel safe.

Educate Your Accountholders to Protect Them This Summer

Fraud is never welcome – especially during summer travel. By educating your accountholders about common scams, hacks, and basic data security, you can ensure the best outcome for all involved.

At Onovative, we take privacy and security seriously. Core iQ integrates directly with your core data, including the most sensitive accountholder information.

From everyone here at Onovative, happy travels this summer!

Powerful Security, Effective Marketing Campaigns – Core iQ

Core iQ is an all-in-one automated marketing platform created exclusively for banks and credit unions. Powered by core, ancillary, and third-party data, Core iQ creates hyper-targeted lists based on account type, balance, accountholder demographics, and so much more. To learn more about Core iQ, or to schedule a demo for yourself, contact the Onovative team today!