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Credit Card Scam

We are planning a trip to eastern Europe and have heard from a reader that credit card scam is a problem to travelers in Poland. How can you protect yourself?What do you know about this? A reader indicated that the credit card company would not send the new card to Poland but had to be picked up in Berlin. How does one get to Berlin if you have been scammed on your credit cards or they have been stolen? What precautions must be taken? Is this more prevalent in eastern Europe than the rest of Europe?

Posted by
683 posts

It would help if you detailed just what this scam is supposed to be. All in all, Poland is a very safe place and you are no more likely to suffer scams there than anyplace else.

Posted by
8943 posts

Keep your credit cards hidden in your money belt and you won't have this problem. It's not an issue you should stress-out over.

Posted by
658 posts

There is a global problem it's not just in Poland. Cards are 'cloned' and it's very easy to do and the equipment costs peanuts.

It's normally done in restaurants where a diner hands over a credit card to pay for a meal. The waiter takes the card to conduct the transaction and makes a copy of the card. It happened to me five years ago in Spain. Most European credit cards are now 'Chip and Pin' where you have to enter a private four digit code to enable the transaction and thus the card is never out of your sight. There are however quite a few countries that are not 'chip and pin' enabled. The simple solution is to go with the waiter to sign the transaction slip at the authorisation machine. If they are honest they will have no objections, if they object - insist !!!

That having been said, the last two meals I had in Chicago, I handed the waitress my card and against all my best advice sat back and let her take it and bring me the slip to sign.

Posted by
11798 posts

Use redundancy. I mean having backups not laying English people off work.

I carry a debit card and a credit card. My wife carries a debit card and credit card for different accounts.

We are both signers on all the accounts. We start with my debit being our primary source of cash at ATMs. If my card is lost or stolen, we notify the bank, transfer funds to my wife's account and use her debit card for cash. We use credit card for transportation and big hotels (hostels, B&B's and small hotels often want cash instead). Mine is primary. If it's lost or stolen, we notify the bank and switch to my wife's card.

I think the risk is higher in Eastern Europe. To some extent the fall of communism has allowed criminals much more latitude.

Securing your card is the same all over Europe. Keep it in your money belt. Most scams, even in the U.S., begin with someone taking your card out of your sight so they can read and copy the magnetic strip information.