How to Avoid Fraud on Business Travel

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Last updated on August 23rd, 2023

Roughly one out of every five business travelers have been a victim of credit card fraud, according to a new study by business travel experts BCD Travel. The study, conducted globally and surveying 1,300+ business travelers, highlights the dangers of international travel but also showcases some of the impressive security protections that come from a business credit card. Here’s a breakdown of the common causes of credit card fraud for traveling businesspeople – and how you can stay safe on the road, in the sky, or wherever your work takes you.  

Survey Highlights the Financial Dangers of Business Travel

If you travel for work, chances are you’ve known someone who fell victim to credit card fraud or scammed yourself. That’s the verdict of a comprehensive Traveler Survey of Payment and Expenses by BCD Travel. The study results are based on an online global survey of 1,349 English-speaking business travelers from March 31 to April 11, 2023.

Here are the main findings from BCD Travel’s Payment & Expense traveler study:

  • 79% of business travelers say they use a corporate or business credit card as their primary payment method
  • 26% of business travelers occasionally use personal credit cards for business travel
  • 12% of business travelers rely on their own cash when traveling

Of those surveyed, one in six business travelers falls victim to credit card fraud on a business trip. Most cases happen because of fraudulent charges made by vendors or card-not-present fraud. Here’s the breakdown of the types of fraud encountered:

  • 45% had their credit card information stolen and used to pay for goods online or by phone
  • 45% had vendors fraudulently add charges to their card
  • 28% said their credit card information was stolen through a special device when using the card to pay
  • 12% lost or had their credit card stolen
  • 8% had fallen victim to phishing or other scams
  • 2% had fallen victim to an account takeover
  • 4% other

Credit card fraud happens despite the measures taken by business travelers. Over half of the respondents exclusively use corporate cards while traveling, never store PINs with cards and immediately report suspicious activity to the bank. Meanwhile, very few use cash at questionable shops, have a dedicated card for online shopping, or pay using a mobile wallet.

How to Avoid Credit Card Fraud When Traveling for Work

In today’s digital age, credit card fraud poses a significant threat to individuals and businesses. For business professionals who frequently travel, the risk of falling victim to credit card fraud increases. This blog post will explore some of the most common examples of credit card fraud that businesspeople might encounter while traveling. We will also discuss preventive measures to mitigate these risks and provide practical tips to protect yourself from credit card fraud while traveling for work.

Credit Card Skimming

Card skimming is a prevalent form of credit card fraud that involves capturing the data from the magnetic stripe on a credit or debit card. Criminals typically employ skimming devices on ATMs, payment terminals, or gas pumps to steal card information. Once obtained, the fraudsters can create counterfeit cards or use the stolen data for online transactions.

So, how can you avoid credit card skimmers when traveling? There are a few simple steps to take to stay safe, including:

  • Inspect an ATM or payment terminal for signs of tampering or unusual devices attached. Look for loose parts, adhesive residue, or mismatched colors.
  • Whenever possible, opt for ATMs located inside banks or well-monitored areas.
  • Cover the keypad with your hand or wallet when entering your PIN to prevent hidden cameras from capturing your personal information.
  • Check your bank and credit card statements frequently to identify suspicious transactions promptly.

Phishing Scams

Phishing scams involve fraudulent emails, text messages, or phone calls that attempt to deceive individuals into divulging their personal or financial information. While traveling, businesspeople might receive emails or calls posing as their bank or credit card company, requesting sensitive information such as card numbers, CVV codes, or login credentials.

Here are some common sense ways to keep yourself safe from phishing scams:

  • Avoid clicking on links or providing personal information in response to unsolicited emails, messages, or phone calls.
  • Always verify the source. If you receive a communication claiming to be from your bank or credit card company, independently contact them using the official contact information to verify the request’s legitimacy.
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks for sensitive transactions. Use a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your connection and protect your data if necessary.

RFID Skimming

 With the rise of contactless payment technology, another form of credit card fraud has emerged—RFID skimming. Criminals with RFID readers can intercept data from contactless cards and steal the information wirelessly. This type of fraud is common in crowded places, such as airports or conferences.

Preventing skimming is as easy as keeping your cards secure, preferably in an RFID-blocking wallet or a separate compartment in your carry-on bag. Consider using RFID-blocking wallets, cardholders, or sleeves to prevent unauthorized access to your card’s contactless feature. And when in doubt,

How Credit Cards Keep You Safe

Using your business card when traveling is your best bet to staying safe from fraudsters. That’s because credit cards offer a huge range of safety protections, like Zero Fraud Liability and chargebacks. Fraud protection is provided by Visa, Amex, and Mastercard, with cardholders enjoying different levels of protection depending on the card level and network.

Visa Business Protections

Visa Business Visa Signature Business Visa Infinite Business
Zero Fraud Liability
Roadside Dispatch
Cardholder Inquiry Services
Lost/Stolen Card Reporting
Emergency Card Replacement
Auto Rental Collison Damage Waiver
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
Purchase and Extended Protection
Lost Luggage Reimbursement
Travel Accident Insurance
Trip Delay and Cancellation Insurance

Mastercard Business Protections

Mastercard Business World Elite Buisness
Zero Liability
ID theft Protection
Global Emergency Services
Mastercard Biz
Car Rental Insurance
Mastercard Airport Concierge
Priceless Golf
Business Controls
Mastercard Receipt Management
Mastercard Easy Savings®
Intuit QuickBooks® and TurboTax®
Salesforce Essentials
Microsoft 365
24/7 Business Assistant
Mastercard Premium Easy Savings
ShopRunner Membership
Mastercard Travel & Lifestyle Services

Check out more

Business Credit Cards

Featured image by Stela Di /PixaBay

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About: Cory Santos
Cory Santos

Cory is the senior credit card editor at BestCards, specializing in everything credit card-related. He’s worked extensively with credit cards and other personal finance topics, including nearly five years at BestCards. Cory’s extensive knowledge is an essential part of the BestCards experience, helping readers to live their best financial lives with up-to-date insights and comprehensive coverage of all facets of the credit card space, including market trends, rewards guides, credit advice, and comprehensive credit card reviews.

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