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Financial scams to look out for on your next trip



Some overseas scams might seem like no-brainers. Others are far trickier – and can leave you with more worries than just a bruised ego. In fact, travel scams cost Australians hundreds of thousands of dollars every year[1].

Here’s industry super fund-owned bank ME’s quick rundown on some common travel scams to avoid on your next trip.



Skimming is a type of credit card fraud where thieves use a small device to capture (skim) and store your credit card information while you’re doing a regular transaction like getting cash out at the ATM. They then proceed to drain your bank account or max out your credit card over a series of days or months.

Here are some tips to help you avoid skimming:

  • Never let your credit card out of your sights.
  • Try and only use ATMs located in reputable banks. And if you notice a credit card reader that protrudes outside the face of the rest of the machine, it may be a skimmer.
  • Cover your hand when entering your PIN in case the fraudster has set up cameras.
  • Watch out for double dipping. If a transaction hasn’t gone through for whatever reason, ask the salesperson to give you a receipt of the declined transaction. Be sure to check your statement in your banking app too.


Old school pick-pocketing

Technology may advance every day, but sometimes pick-pocketing is a thief’s weapon of choice – especially around tourist attractions in Europe.

There will be different techniques – such as bumping into you or masquerading as a charity worker with clipboards, using the guise of a street performance, or even offering to help carry your suitcase or backpack.

Being alert and knowing what to look out for can help, but unfortunately if pickpockets strike, you should do the following: block your card immediately and check your account for unwanted transactions. It’s also a good idea to bring a couple of cards with you while travelling.


Public Wi-Fi

Avoid using public Wi-Fi at all costs. It’s often not secure and some scammers lure you in with free Wi-Fi in order to install malware on your device.


They fake it until they make it

Counterfeit cash has existed almost as long as money itself – and modern tech is only making it harder to distinguish. To avoid being given counterfeit money, change your cash in reputable places in Australia before you go. Familiarise yourself with these notes, so that once you’re overseas you’re less prone to accept the fakes.

When you get back, make sure you continue checking your account regularly as sometimes scammers wait a couple of weeks or months before withdrawing money from your account.

This article is brought to you by ME. For more information, please visit



Members Equity Bank Limited ABN 56 070 887 679 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 229500.