It happens to a lot of people. Its probably happening to you right now and you don’t know it. When is the last time you checked you credit card statement? Did you closely scrutinize it? Notice any funny charges on it? Maybe it’s time you went back and read it with a tooth-comb. You could be the victim of credit card fraud.
So what is credit card fraud and how do you protect yourself from being a victim?
Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud can simply be defined as the malicious use of your credit card by an unauthorized person to pay for goods or obtain favors, with your credit card being the source of funds. In most cases it’s a precursor to identity theft, where a malicious individual usurps your documents and legal persona and pretends to be you. They do this to obtain funds illegally or conduct questionable business/personal transactions in your name.
In most cases, credit card fraud starts with the unauthorized person getting your credit card or account information. How they use that information could mean ruin to your credit score and ultimately financial life. It’s worse if it goes unchecked for long periods of time. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself from credit card fraud and secure your financial data.
Keep Proper Financial Records
Good financial records are not just the purview of small businesses. As an individual, proper financial records come in handy when you are reconciling your credit card statement with your expenses. Without the records you cannot be sure whether the transactions reported was yours or a fraudulent charge.
Monitor Your Credit Card Accounts & Statements
At the end of each month when you receive your credit card statement, take the time to go through it and confirm that all the transactions listed were conducted by you. Otherwise, you can access your card statement online and reconcile all the transactions cataloged. Online access gives you a hawks-eye view on your finances. You can immediately notice any funny transactions.
Keep Cards and Records Safe
Credit card fraudsters are after your financial information. They go to great lengths to acquire it. Keep your cards and financial records in a secure place. Only carry the card you often use when travelling. You might also want to separate your wallet and credit cards and reduce the chance of someone accessing your cards when your wallet is stolen. More often than not, preventing credit card fraud is a matter of awareness when you using your card.
Don’t give your credit card information over the phone. This is more so if you are not sure of the person or the organization you are dealing with. Verify they are who they say they are and only deal with reputable organizations.
It’s also sensible to only enter your credit card information on secure and reputable websites when transacting online. Refrain from sending your credit card information in emails, instant chats or other internet channels unless you are sure of the organization or the person you are dealing with, and even then, do it with caution.
Shred Sensitive Financial Documents.
Buy a shredder and periodically shred outdated financial documents, cards and details that you no longer use. Credit card fraudsters may obtain your financial information by rummaging through your trash. By shredding, you reduce the likelihood they will obtain any sensitive data that may lead to credit card fraud or identity theft.
Avoid credit card fraud by practicing safety in the way you handle your credit cards and financial information. This includes being aware of your surroundings, when you use your cards, and immediately reporting stolen or lost credit cards. By taking simple measures you stand a better chance of preventing card fraud and safeguarding your financial life.
Have you been a victim of credit card fraud? How did you deal with it? What other measures can we take to fight against credit card fraud? Share in the comments!Read More
Since their introduction in the late 1970’s, airline miles credit cards have gained the appeal to travelers worldwide. This is because you earn rewards or points using them. You can redeem your points for free flights to your preferred destinations. You can also get upgrades and other travel related perks. So, how do you choose the best airline credit cards for your travel needs? In today’s post, we explore some of the key factors you should consider before you open your travel credit card account.
With any undertaking, the first thing to do is plan. Consider your travel and spending habits and use that to determine your strategy. Do you want to enjoy the travel perks? Do you want to receive upgrades on your flights? Earn loyalty points for purchases at particular outlets or how about free flights to your vacation destinations. With a plan, you can tailor your choice of cards and avoid damaging your credit score or running into excessive debt.
Airline Vs. Bank Branded Cards
Each has their pros and cons. While choosing, consider your location. Do you live in a major airline hub serviced by one dominant airline? Do you travel frequently on that airline? If so, you might be best suited to get an airline miles credit cards with that airline. This way you enjoy all the travel perks offered by that particular airline such as choice of seats, upgrades, lounge facilities.
Bank branded travel credit cards are best suited if you live away from major travel hubs and prefer a variety in choice of the airlines you do business with. These cards also come with other benefits attached such as discounts at particular stores and outlets that lets you increase your points.
Huge Sign Up Bonus
Look for airline miles credit cards offerings with huge sign up bonuses. The higher the sign-up bonus the faster you will accumulate points and hasten your redemption. Ordinarily I look for offers with at least 30,000 sign up bonuses. Some cards offer up to 50,000 sign up bonus points. These are worth at least a domestic flight.
Bonus Points Per Dollar Spent
Most airline miles credit cards program employ a one dollar one point policy. Spend one dollar on your purchases and you receive one airline mile or points. When choosing, look for offerings that give you more for every dollar spent. This could be in form of extra points earned for shopping at particular outlets, occasional bonus points promotions to clients, loyalty programs that let you acquire more points for being a long time customer. This strategy quickens the pace you accumulate points.
Low Minimum Spending
Unfortunately with airline miles credit cards, the minimum spending requirements for most cards are insanely high. Who wants that? Most people just want choice, and cards that compliment their normal spending behaviors. Look for cards with at most $1000 in minimum spending requirements. That is a threshold you can easily cross with your domestic spending needs.
Fees on airline miles credit cards are inevitable. In my experience, fee based credit cards tend to have better managed point schemes. In the long run, you will end up saving more than the annual fees you pay through better travel protection, perks and special offers. That doesn’t mean you splurge on the fees, on the contrary, research and settle for cards with fair annual fees.
Consider the APR
The Annual Percentage Rate is the rate at which you repay your credit card monthly balances. Airline miles credit cards tend to have higher APR’s than ordinary credit cards. Weigh this while choosing your card and factor in your monthly expenditures. The last thing you want is being stuck with high credit card bills for the points you collect.
Foreign Conversion Fees
Most cards charge a 3% fee on foreign usage. If you travel frequently to foreign destinations, weigh the rates while choosing your card. Ordinarily you want a credit card thats hassle free to use internationally and that has a fair rate.
Does your preferred airline miles credit cards allow teaming up to earn more points? You can team up with your spouse by adding them as an authorized user on your card and any purchases they make earn you points on the card. This also helps when you travel as a couple or family.
Airline Miles Credit Cards Vs. Credit Scores
It’s a recognized fact that rapidly opening and closing credit card accounts (aka, churning & burning) will affect your credit score. A lot of checks on your credit history and outstanding loans/balances will lower your credit score somewhat.
So how do you avoid this eventuality?
- Space your credit card acquisitions.
- Only get airline miles credit cards that fit your strategy.
- Maintain a great credit scores by timely servicing your loans
- Clear your credit card balances at the end of each month.
- Follow your budget when using the card. Do not go overboard for the points.
- Get creative with your credit card usage. Look for inexpensive ways to earn points.
Airline miles credit cards offer the opportunity to travel for free to the most exotic destinations for just using the card for your normal purchases. Your choice of card ultimately depends on your needs. With responsible usage and an excellent choice of credit cards, you stand to benefit immensely and travel the globe on a shoestring budget. It just takes a bit of planning and strategy to achieve it.
So, what do you consider while choosing an airline miles credit card? Let me know in the comments!Read More
Spine Chilling Places in the World
What an amazing world we have, from its splendid landscapes, wonderful people to its creepy haunted places. There are spine chilling places you need to know, explore or visit. Here is a list of few creepy places you may not want to visit.
The Sedlec Ossuary -Sedlec, Czech Republic
Sedlec ossuary also known “Bone Church” is a small chapel located in Sedlec Czech Republic. Abbot Henry brought back a jar of soil from Grave of the Lord of Jerusalem, Golgotha and scattered the soil accross the Sedlec cemetery. Soon people from the place and the surrounding countries desired to be buried in Sedlec Cemetery that was now believed to be a holly land. The number of burials outgrew the space available thus exhuming old remains and stored them in the Chapel.
Hill of Crosses, Lithuania
Hill of Crosses is located about 12 kilometers from the city of Siauliai northern Lithuania People began leaving crosses on the side of an old fort in commemoration and remembrance of those killed fighting for the independence in Lithuania. Over 10,000 crosses are crowded together in huge piles across the entire hillside.
Aokigahara Forest, Japan
Aokigahara Forest also Known as “Suicide Forest” is located Northwest base of Mount Fuji in Japan. It is believed over 100 people commit suicide in this forest every year. Government of Japan has been laying uplifting sign boards messages like ‘think of your family’ or ‘life is precious! please reconsider’ all over the forest. I believe here is scary especially the view of hanging bodies on trees across the forest.
Devil’s Kettle – Minnesota’s Judge Magney State Park, USA
Devils is located in Judge Magney State Park, Minnesota. Brule River splits twice down the fall with one section of the river down streaming normally while the other section vanished into a deep hole known as Devil’s Kettle. No one has ever discovered where the whole ends or water goes.
Island of Dolls, Mexico
The Island of Dolls is located in the Xochimilco Canal, near Mexico City. It has strange and terrifying dolls hanging on trees and also scattered along its floor. According to legend, a young girl drowned in canal and a man by name Julian Barrera found her doll floating in the nearby water. In memory of her, he tied the doll on a tree. He thereafter decorated the whole island with dolls which he collected from rubbish tips and around the canal as a memorial to the girl.
Have you ever visited strange, unusual, scariest place around the world? Share with us your experiences by leaving a comment.
Amazing Reads of the Week
My Mother’s Story – Aussie in France
How to travel on the cheap – Blonde and Balanced
20 Ideas For Beach Hotels In Thailand – The Expeditioner
More About Queenstown, New Zealand – The Travel Insider
Which City Was the Most Expensive to Live in? – Blonde on a Budget
How to Use Groupon to Save on Your Vacation – Money Smart Guides
International travel is very different from domestic travel. You’ll be required to have different documentation, jump through different hoops before entering and leaving a country, and deal with cultural barriers and even uncomfortable situations while traveling. The more prepared you are, the better equipped you will be to handle the unexpected while traveling abroad.
Acquiring a Passport
International travel requires a passport. A passport is a form of photo identification issued by your home country. It’s important to apply for passports well before your date of departure, as the process can take several weeks or even months.
Going Through Customs
When you enter and depart from a foreign country, you’ll be required to fill out customs information. Customs is a department in a country that monitors what items are being brought into and taken out of the country. You’ll get forms, either on the plane or in the airport, that allow you to itemize all of the items you purchased within the country.
Some items, like live animals, food products, and alcohol, are strictly regulated with regard to international transport. Be sure that your home country allows items from various countries to be transported across the border before you make a big purchase overseas. Most people, however, have no trouble getting through customs.
Avoid the Ugly American Scenario
There is a term often applied to American tourists who show little regard to foreign customs. “Ugly American” is a slang phrase used to describe a tourist who expects the foreign cultures of the world to accommodate his or her own personal world view. Foreign cultures are just that: foreign. This means that you should expect things to run a little differently when you are visiting a different culture.
Your food may not be prepared the way you’re used to. You might have to deal with language barriers, shopping differences, and even lodgings that aren’t up to your standards. Instead of fussing and stressing about these adjustments, you should do your best to remember that you are a guest in another country. Try to learn about a foreign culture and absorb the differences, and allow travel to broaden your world view.
International travel can be an incredible and educating experience. Many people assert that they hadn’t yet begun to live until they witnessed the daily lives of people in other cultures throughout the world. If you have credit card airline miles, using them to plan an overseas vacation is a great decision.
Eccentric Airports in the World
When landing at various airports around the world you will be surprised or shocked because air travel is full of wonderful and weird when it comes to landing or taking off. Here is the list of the most strangest airports in the world.
Kansai International Airport Osaka, Japan
Kansai International Airport is Japans second most important international airport located on the official island in the heart of Osaka Bay 38 kilometers Southwest of Osaka Stations. It serves as a hub for various airlines such as All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, and Nippon Cargo Airlines. The Airport has two terminals though is planning to build a third terminal. The first terminal services both domestic and international flights by regular airlines while second terminal also serves both domestic and international flights but by low cost airlines.
Due to land scarcity of land in Japan, engineers headed three miles into Osaka Bay to build this colossal structure, in their mind they had to account for the earthquakes that always hit Japan, dangerous cyclones and unstable seabed. Climate change and rising sea levels poses a threat to the airport existence.
Agatti Airport India
Agati Aerodrome is the only airstrip in Archipelage and it is located of the Southern Coast of India, sits on the island of Agatti. The airport is 4,000 foot long surrounded by the Indian Ocean. The runway appears to get lost in the sea. Flights operates to the island six times a week.
Gibraltar Airport, Gibraltar
Gibraltar Airport serves the British overseas territory of Gibraltar and it’s owned by the Ministry of Defense for use by United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force. The runway intersects Winston Churchill Avenue which is the busiest road in Gibraltar. Railroad-style crossing gates acts as a barrier holding cars back every time a plane lands or depart.
Courchevel Airport Courchevel, France
The airport has a short runway of only 525 meters located on the French Alps Mountains. The most surprising thing is the steep large hill on the runaway towards the middle of the strip which has 18.5% gradient. The Airport is considered dangerous because of its up slope runway. The hill is so steep that small planes could probably gain momentum rolling down it with their engines off.
Juancho E. Yrasquin Airport Saba, Netherlands Antilles
It is the only airport on the Caribbean Island of Saba. It’s known worldwide for its shortest Commercial runway. Winair is the current airline serving Yrausquin Airport. Due to its short runway, landing and taking off becomes a challenge.
Macau International Airport, Macau
It is situated at the Eastern end of Tapia Island, China. Due to scarcity of land and high population, Engineers like in Kansai Airport had to reclaim land from island to build this unique and eccentric airport. A set of highways links the runway to the surrounding.
Amazing Reads of the Week
Vegas Trip Recap – FrugalRules
When Winter Gives You the Cold Shoulder… – Need Another Holiday
Top 6 Sydney Beaches That Aren’t Named Bondi – TheExpeditioner
Finding Time for Yourself When You Travel With Kids – Delicious Baby
6 Crucial Keys To Booking The Perfect Apartment While Traveling – Landing StandingRead More