Summer time travel: Credit cards are one hot commodity

It is expected that this year there will be an increase in travel throughout the summer months. As people are feeling better about spending money again, the amount of people taking vacations is expected to rise. Unfortunately, travel is not the only thing on the rise. Credit card theft, and credit card fraud is also expected to rise, and those who are vacationing are the primary targets.

There are scams everywhere

As a traveler it can be hard to know what to look for when it comes to credit card fraud. Traveling to a new place can be exciting. Imagine that you arrive at your hotel and check-in, you hand the clerk your credit card, and you then get your keys, your whole family is excited about what lies ahead.

Later that night you are in your room, your phone rings and the person on the other end says they are the clerk at the front desk. The clerk explains that there was a problem processing your credit card and that they need you to verify your card number and address, they even offer a discounted rate due to the inconvenience. Without thinking you give the credit card information and settle down for the night. What you don’t understand is that you just had your credit card information stolen from someone pretending to be a hotel employee.

It sounds like a horror story, but in fact this has been happening a lot lately. The BBB has noted a sharp increase in the amount of credit card fraud coming from hotels over the past few months. They are not sure if the people doing this really are hotel employees, or if they are non hotel employees who get access to your rooms phone by calling the front desk and asking for a random room number. Whatever is happening, it a massive cause for concern and it is putting hundreds of people in a very bad situation.

How credit card companies can help

If you are unlucky enough to have your credit card information stolen you might still be protected. Many of the major credit card carriers offer protection against fraud, and they offer programs that might just save your bacon.

American Express has a fraud protection program that guarantees your protection against fraud with no fine print, and no deductible. Simply call Amex and tell them what has happened. They can give you a temporary line of credit to help you get through the rough patch while they investigate the incident.

Visa also offers a program that is identical to American Express. They say you can shop anywhere with peace of mind because you are protected wherever you go. Not only can you get temporary credit but they also claim to be able to rectify most cases faster than anyone else.

MasterCard offers a similar fraud protection system. They claim they are you are covered against unauthorized charges to your account, but there is some fine print with them. If you have reported two or more incidents in the last twelve months you may not be covered. There are also other things that the CC companies can help with such as alternate travel arrangements, so be sure to look at what they can do for you.

What can you do to help yourself?

While it is nice that credit card companies have your back when it comes to credit card fraud the first and best line of defense comes from yourself. Never share credit card information with people you do not know. Never share credit card information over the phone, always check your bank account online(via secure connection), and always check your monthly statement for suspicious transactions. Don’t be afraid to use your credit card while traveling, just make wise decisions when it comes to sharing such sacred information.

This guest post is by Brett Day,  from Moore, Oklahoma. He is a featured contributor for Yahoo! Contributor Network in Technology. He has a huge interest in the world of technology, home theater, and video games. Brett loves writing and sharing his knowledge on all of these subjects.