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Is it just me or does it seem like there’s a proliferation of scams these days? Everywhere I turn, there seems to be yet another mention, yet another warning, yet another scam that innocent citizens need to be concerned about. It feels like the Wild, Wild West out there and it feels increasingly more difficult to keep ourselves, our private, personal information, even our identities safe. RELATED: Cybersecurity and Fraud Expert Shares Tips on How Not to Get Scammed When Traveling
We’ve written about several scams in recent years, to help all of our readers stay in-the-know, aware and vigilant. Just one scam can rob someone of their livelihood, their life savings and even their sense of peace and security. It’s infuriating. Some of our recent articles on the topic of scams include:
–Don’t Fall For the Falling Lady Scam
–Two Scams Currently Making the Rounds That Everyone Should Know About
–Warning: Scammers Are Using Artificial Intelligence to Spoof the Voices of Your Loved Ones – Don’t Fall For It
–SCAM ALERT: I Just Got Suckered to Be a Guest on a Podcast for $3,000 But I Didn’t See the Actual Scam Coming
–WARNING: Scammers Are Selling AI-Generated Travel Guidebooks on Amazon … and They’re Awful
–Traveler Exposes Scammer’s Trick For Stealing Airline Passengers’ Money
–Bank of America Issues Warning About These Common Scams and the Red Flags to Look Out For
–Warning: Travelers Using Twitter Need to Know About This New Scam
I mean, this is just mind-boggling, right? When the pandemic first started, I almost fell for a scam. My phone rang and the caller ID said Bank of America. I quickly cross-referenced the number and it was one digit off from Bank of America’s real phone number but I thought perhaps they had a few different extensions. The guys I spoke to tried everything they could to get me to give them my password and I honestly don’t know why I stayed on the phone with them as long as I did. Every instinct told me this was not the bank calling but they played on my fears and emotions as the world entered a global pandemic. You can read more about it here, along with tips for dealing with your bank directly and not falling for bank scams.
My point is: There are scammers everywhere and none of us is immune. Just last week, my husband had six credit cards stolen in as many days and it has caused us a lot of stress, worry and headaches. It’s taken up valuable time and resources that we don’t have the time to spare and it’s also robbed us of our peace of mind.
We don’t know exactly how the scammers got the credit card numbers although there are plenty of reports right now about ATM skimmers being used gain access to financial information. And if you don’t know what an ATM skimmer looks like, you’ll definitely want to check out this story so you can be on the lookout.
Another possibility is that someone used a reader to scan my husband’s cards in his wallet. According to How-To Geek: “If you have a smartphone capable of making contactless payments, it can be used to read NFC (Near-Field Communication) cards as well. So what’s to stop someone from using their phone to copy your NFC card?
They go on to say: “That’s exactly the situation RFID blocking wallets are supposed to prevent. The idea is that someone could simply bring their NFC reader close to your wallet and then copy your cards. They could then have the device reproduce the RFID information to make payments.”
I don’t know how likely it is that my husband’s credit card information was stolen this way but it’s a possibility and as such, I decided to buy him an RFID (Radio-frequency Identification) blocking wallet because why not? It’s such a simple way to protect your cards because if they DO get stolen, it’s a headache and an invasion of privacy at the very least and a financial disaster at the worst.
How-To Geek says that “RFID-blocking wallets have card sleeves (or sometimes entire wallets) made from materials that don’t let radio waves through.” This is the wallet I bought for my husband, which is really more like a sleeve. With almost 100,000 reviews and under $20, this one is a no-brainer, especially for travel.
But if you prefer a more spacious wallet, consider this men’s slim wallet with money clip. With over 116,000 Amazon reviews, this one is a crowd-favorite.
For women, consider a bag like the Travelon anti-theft crossbody, which has both slash-resistant straps and RFID-blocking credit card and passport slots.
There’s no harm in giving yourself and your personal data some added protection, not just when you’re traveling but in your everyday life as well. And they all make great gifts. My husband said it was a great gift because it’s hands-down better than a shirt or sweater and is something he really needed … and there’s no gift better than added peace of mind.
More scams to watch out for:
- Is Your Hotel Scamming You?
- Don’t Fall For It: Scammers Are Pretending to be Customs and Border Protection Agents
- How To Avoid Vacation Rental Scams
- Don’t Fall For These QR Code Scams
- These Are the Latest European Travel Scams to Know Before You Go