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'[OT] Apprehensive about a credit card'
2008\08\02@063653 by Tomás Ó hÉilidhe

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I'm thinking of getting a credit card for when I go away to Thailand,
everyone's telling me not to bring a big lump of cash.

The problems I see with getting a credit card are as follows:
1) Ridiculously insecure. Someone can take the card and charge whatever
they want to it.
2) Might not work... Imagine I got to Thailand, go to buy something and
get "sorry card doesn't work".

Here in Ireland I can get a credit card that has 0% APR for the first 9
months so I'm considering taking it up.

Is there any way I can protect against credit card fraud? Especially
while I'm in Bangkok!

2008\08\02@080726 by Apptech

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All care, no responsibility. YMMV.

> The problems I see with getting a credit card are as
> follows:

> 1) Ridiculously insecure. Someone can take the card and
> charge whatever
> they want to it.

If you let them.
I've carried a credit card in about 28 countries (say 20 or
so that count) and, despite having a predilection for
misplacing anything that's not on mty immediate person, I
have not had any problems with it - not lost and not misused
by others. The only problem I have ever had was an internet
deal where my card number was subsequently obtained but not
used by a known scam group.

Also - as long as the card leaves you under duress and
somebody else uses it then any reputable bank will decline
the transaction. If YOU don't sign the sales slip then VISA
are often rather good at being on your side. I managed a
refund from a fraudulent transaction in this country once
when they broke VISA's rules.

When travelling I carry my credit card on my person at ALL
times. I have a not wholly obvious zipped front
<location_deleted> pocket that I've cut the metal zipper
pull off making it (hopefully) a challenge for pick pockets
and I have the british standard under shirt holster / armpit
bag for passport and key papers and large denomination notes
when that seems useful. I'm told that some people cut
through shirts etc to get to such bags. Such people probably
should be obliged but you could consider kevlar bag and wire
strap.

(In past years I used a thin stainless marine cable in my
camera strap but have stopped doing so.)

I'd consider carrying moderately large sums of cash in the
under shirt bag as long as I made a point of not making it
obvious to anyone that I was carrying it.

If anyone carrying a knife wanted to see its contents I'd
probably oblige them, but you personally might want instead
to consider kicking them in the head (or shins).

> 2) Might not work... Imagine I got to Thailand, go to buy
> something and
> get "sorry card doesn't work".

Mine (VISA) has been highly successful anywhere I have tried
to use it. AFAIR I have never had a VISA transaction attempt
declined by people who took credit cards at all.

Rober in Bangkok can probably advise if any versions are
known not to work.

> Is there any way I can protect against credit card fraud?
> Especially
> while I'm in Bangkok!

I imagine (I am not a credit card expert ...) that by having
a modest maximum debit limit and having somebody top it up
if necessary


       Russell

2008\08\02@121943 by M. Adam Davis

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Along these lines, you might also consider using a pre-paid visa gift
card.  If stolen or lost you can still file claims against it and get
the money back, but even if you don't the loss is limited.  If you do
go this way, keep records of the initial purchase, card number, etc so
you can get any lost money back if needed.

It's also handy for catching the thief - I had an $80 visa gift card
in my wallet when I was robbed a few years ago - Visa pulled up the
subsequent transactions, I gave that to the police, and the clerks at
the shops it was used at recognized the criminals.

I've also had several people tell me they carry two wallets when
travelling - one with nothing terribly important, but enough cash and
other 'interesting' stuff to keep a robber busy while the real wallet
remains with you.

One nice thing about Visa is that the currency conversion is done by
Visa, so you don't have to worry about shops that are using older
conversion rates to their advantage, or charging extra fees for
conversion.

Good luck on your trip!

-Adam

On Sat, Aug 2, 2008 at 6:36 AM, Tomás Ó hÉilidhe <spam_OUTtoe_listTakeThisOuTspamlavabit.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

>

2008\08\02@124603 by Apptech

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> One nice thing about Visa is that the currency conversion
> is done by
Visa, so you don't have to worry about shops that are using
older
conversion rates to their advantage, or charging extra fees
for
conversion.
/>

SOME shops offer a notional option of conversion by VISA or
conversion by them BUT they actually don't give you the VISA
option AND they give you a paper to sign that says that you
were given the choice. Some Australian businesses do this -
including some in the airport. It's robbery, but their rates
are not much different than VISA's so I guess VISA's are
robbery too ;-).


       R





2008\08\02@172008 by Doug Metzler

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I was in Thailand a few months ago and I had no problem using an ATM card
and paying cash for everything :-)

DougM


{Original Message removed}

2008\08\02@203023 by Spehro Pefhany

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At 05:20 PM 8/2/2008, you wrote:
>I was in Thailand a few months ago and I had no problem using an ATM card
>and paying cash for everything :-)
>
>DougM

I rarely use a credit card in Asia except for (midrange and better) hotels
and air tickets. For most other things, cash is expected. An ATM card is
the way to go, IMHO, with credit cards as backup. I suggest cards with enough
credit limit to pay for a ticket back home plus another $10K or so, just
in case you need to pre-pay medical expenses or
something like that. And several
times the estimated costs of your trip in ATM-accessible accounts. It's
a bit better to have a couple of cards of different types (eg. Visa nad
Mastercard). I carry them in at least two places on my person, so if one
is stolen, I would simply report it immediately and that's the end of my
responsibility (and the end of my credit, so a backup would come into play).
I keep a copy of all the important numbers (cards, passport # and photocopy
of first page, e-ticket, phone list) both in a secure place and on a server
in an encrypted file. If you consider worst case scenarios (say you have a
medical crisis such as appendicitis or are beaten, robbed and left for dead,
naked, in a ditch, in a city 4 hours by air from anyone you know) it still
should still be possible to recover in a reasonable way.

That said, Asia is not known for violent crime, and robbery by stealth is
the far more likely form of loss. When I take crowded metropolitan transit
with a knapsack in China, at least half the time some zippers will be undone
when I get off. Aside from the usual pickpockets (one attempt was successful
due to accomplices creating a crush), once a guy even tried to unzip the pack
as I was walking down the street. Naturally, risks will be exponentially
higher if you are the type to put yourself into situations where you are
vulnerable (say drunk, alone and in the company of criminals eg. transvestite
hookers or whatever). OTOH, there are cases of credit card slips being altered
and so on, so be a bit careful with how things are filled out and if anyone is
using the old paper forms, careful about which copies stay with the vendor.
In some cases, especially if your signature is on
the forms, the loss will *not*
be covered. ATM cards require a PIN in addition to the card, so they are more
secure (though there are scenarios where fraud or extortion could occur, it's
less likely).




>{Original Message removed}

2008\08\03@012751 by cdb

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On Sat, 02 Aug 2008 20:35:22 -0400, Spehro Pefhany wrote:
:: I rarely use a credit card in Asia except for (midrange and
:: better) hotels
:: and air tickets. For most other things, cash is expected. An ATM
:: card is
:: the way to go

Many debit cards now have either Maestro or Visa association, so you
can use them in places that may only accept credit cards, with the
difference that the money would come straight out of your bank
account, with no interest to pay, especially if you use the pin
number. Some will charge as a cash advance if you sign a voucher
instead of the pin number.

The prepaid cards are a good idea, as one problem will be, that with a
creid card you'll have to either have a direct debit to pay something
off the card each month or have access to an internet bank account to
transfer money over. That route, it owuld be a good idea to pay about
4 days in advance of the due date in case the banking system is a bit
slow.

Colin
--
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2008\08\03@022832 by Jon Chandler

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My former boss had an experience in the Philippines (well, many
experiences but few that I can talk about here!).

To get the full impact of the story, you have to imagine the Norwegian
accent, him looking like an ancient old time sailor complete with craggy
face and a long white beard, puffing on a pipe clenched between his
teeth.  He was out late one night, as I recall, in the small town near
the navy base in Subic Bay.  Somebody came up to him, intending to steal
his wallet.  This person grabbed him by the balls to distract him......

puff....puff... he tells the story.... "Being quite certain that my
balls were firmly attached and in no danger of being stolen...." he
starting madly windmilling his arms all around to prevent any attempt at
reaching his wallet!  His attacker quickly realized that he wasn't
dealing with just any old man and ran off.

Jon
{Quote hidden}

2008\08\03@110428 by Spehro Pefhany

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At 01:28 AM 8/3/2008, you wrote:
{Quote hidden}

I've paid my credit cards online for years, but I'm a bit careful
about signing on to financial websites from computers not under my full
control (eg. internet cafes, VIP 'buyer' lounges, and such like). If one
is not schlepping a laptop around it might be a good use for a PDA or EEE.
This goes double for securities trading sites-- if you really need to buy
or sell quickly, making sure your phone password is up to date and making
a call could be cheap insurance.

Is there a better solution to this? Perhaps some way to use a USB stick?


Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
speffspamKILLspaminterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
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2008\08\03@141506 by Tamas Rudnai

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> Is there a better solution to this? Perhaps some way to use a USB stick?

For man-in-the-middle attacks these kind of things are not even better than
using nothing. Some banks has an SMS / Text message based security solution
which is slightly better, so the bank sends you a text saying "you are going
to send money here and there that amount" and also sends a digiltal sign for
that transaction that you have to enter onto the web site to agree with the
transaction. In Germany few banks provides an external devices that you plug
it in your PC and it calculates the digital sign and the amount and the
recepient is shown on LCD and you have to press the yes button to proceed -
so there is no way to intercept the transaction in the middle.

For other transactions probably the best is to use the PIN + if there is a
bigger amount you are going to buy if the bank phones you up if you really
want to do that (let's say 1000 euros is a bit of scary if someone is paying
in a shop, so the bank phones you asking if you agree with the transaction).
And to have an insurrance of course so in case of lost or stolen the
insurance company pays your damage off.

Tamas



On Sun, Aug 3, 2008 at 4:09 PM, Spehro Pefhany <.....speffKILLspamspam.....interlog.com> wrote:

{Quote hidden}

> -

2008\08\03@184838 by Gerhard Fiedler

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Tamas Rudnai wrote:

>> Is there a better solution to this? Perhaps some way to use a USB stick?

> In Germany few banks provides an external devices that you plug it in
> your PC and it calculates the digital sign and the amount and the
> recepient is shown on LCD and you have to press the yes button to
> proceed - so there is no way to intercept the transaction in the middle.

The traditional system in Germany (in place for ages now) is to use a
single-use transaction number (typically called TAN). You get a list of
transaction numbers (typically 100 numbers per list), and for each
transaction that removes money from your account or is otherwise important
(like changing address), the system requires a transaction number. Each
number in the list is used only once. So logging your previous transaction
doesn't help the attacker; the most they can do is log in and check on your
finances.

A more recent variation sends the required transaction number to your
mobile phone (this may or may not work while you're in Thailand).

The first solution (the list of transaction numbers) is so simple and safe,
but I haven't yet found it being used in the USA (or in Brazil). I wonder
why... all the other methods are restricted in some way, or less secure.

Gerhard

2008\08\07@201318 by Nate Duehr

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Tomás Ó hÉilidhe wrote:

> Is there any way I can protect against credit card fraud? Especially
> while I'm in Bangkok!

Check with your card issuer and if you're in the U.S., check with your
state of residence -- many have limits on how much you're liable for in
the case of fraud.  (Usually $50, but you have to write a LETTER to the
appropriate department at your bank -- DON'T send it to the payments
address, it WILL get lost.)

Usually these also require that you've reported the card lost within 2
days (!), so get the full details from your card issuer.

Many people believe that this protection comes from Visa/Mastercard, but
the cards are actually provided by the INDIVIDUAL banks, by law.

Visa/Mastercard just provide the infrastructure to use them, have them
created, etc.

And credit card fraud protection is COMPLETELY different from debit card
protection.

Nate

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