Bank tips for travel abroad
Good information on "The Long and Short of PINs at ATMs Abroad" in the July 13 On the Spot column by Catharine Hamm. I would also add:
Make sure you tell your bank and credit card companies that you're traveling abroad, otherwise you may find a fraud alert on your account and frozen funds.
Carry more than one card, preferably a bank debit and a charge card. Keep one in a separate place, such as your passport holder, for emergencies.
Do your transactions during banking hours, so that if your card gets stuck in the machine, someone can get it out.
Get enough cash to last you a few days so you don't rack up unnecessary bank charges.
The mention in the June 29 On the Spot column ["Be on Guard for Scammers," by Catharine Hamm] about a phone scam in which callers pose as the Internal Revenue Service registered briefly in my mind, never thinking that anyone I knew would not know that the IRS should put any request for money in writing. I was wrong.
An acquaintance of mine was relieved of $30,000. Their tactics, as related to me, were ruthless, especially for a person who had never had any dealings with the IRS. She was told by these impostors that if she didn't hand over funds immediately she would be arrested, sent to jail, lose her job and not be able to obtain any other employment.
Further, she was told that if she didn't manage to find the funds from family and/or friends immediately, agents would arrest her and seize her property.
She realized too late that she had been defrauded and went to the police for help. She said she was met with apathy. I write in the hopes of somehow sounding a louder alarm.
Editor's note: The Federal Trade Commission writes on its website, "Tax season may be over, but scammers posing as IRS officials continue to call, saying people owe taxes and better pay up. They threaten to arrest or deport people, revoke a license, or even shut down a business.... If you get a call or email like this, report it. Here's how: Report the incident to the [Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration] online at www.1.usa.gov/1oIyS4E or (800) 366-4484. File a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint. From the complaint homepage, select 'Other' and then 'Imposter Scams.' In the notes, please include 'IRS Telephone Scam.' If it's an email, forward it to the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't open any attachments or click on any links in those emails. If you owe — or think you owe — federal taxes, call the IRS at (800) 829-1040 or go to irs.gov. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions."