Posted on July 20, 2015

Qatar residents making the most of the Eid holidays have been advised to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves against fraud and theft, especially when travelling abroad, said Gulf Times. According to MasterCard, incidents such as fraud and theft when travelling abroad are “often overlooked” by some holidaymakers.

During the Eid holidays, “Travelling without cash is, by far, the safest way to travel,” MasterCard emphasised. By keeping in mind several pointers, MasterCard said vacationers and travellers would be able to protect themselves while abroad. It stressed that a cardholder’s “best line of defence” is to check that the EMV-enabled Chip-and-PIN payment card will not expire during the travel period.

Another safety tip, according to MasterCard, is to make a list of the cards that will be used during the trip, including their respective account numbers. It also suggested that entering card details on a smartphone will help the owner remember important information.It is also important to inform the bank of travel plans and the duration of the trip. “You’ve told your Facebook friends where you’re going, but have you told your bank? Alert them to the fact that you will be travelling so they don’t think your transactions are fraudulent,” MasterCard pointed out.

It added: “Make sure you have your PIN for your MasterCard, so that if required you can withdraw a cash advance from any ATM.” MasterCard also advised cardholders to “never let your debit card or credit payments out of your sight and make sure transactions are done in front of you.” “Take as little cash with you as possible. If you need to top up when you arrive, make use of the ATM locator using your smartphone,” it added.

Banks in Qatar have also issued advisories to their respective customers, especially for those who made travel plans abroad. They warned not to divulge any information to suspicious e-mails and other phishing-type messages. “Phishing is an e-mail scam that attempts to trick people into revealing their card numbers, PINs and account login passwords, or other financial information. Most phishing attacks start as an e-mail that links to a fake Internet site that looks legitimate with familiar logos and graphics,” one bank advisory stressed.

It added, “Your information security is of importance…Please note we will never use e-mail to request your personal or electronic banking details, nor should you provide your user ID and password via e-mail or telephone.”The advisory further said, “In line with the recent rule that applies to all banks in Qatar, all card usage overseas where customers are not requested to enter their PIN will now be declined, unless the customer notifies their bank before travelling.”

Other common tips that banks recommend include, avoid disclosing the PIN to anyone, including family members, waiter or waitress, cashier, or sales staff; standing close to the ATM and shield the screen and PIN pad to safeguard the numbers while they are being entered; and ensure that that firewall, spam filter, anti-virus, and anti-spyware protection are active and up-to-date.