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Don’t Let Thieves Steal Your Good Time on Vacation

Planning for a relaxing vacation can sometimes be very stressful. Chelsea Groton Bank has some tips to safeguard your financial information when traveling that should be put into place before you leave town.

“People should continuously be on alert for identity theft and fraudulent purchases or withdrawals, however travelers need to be especially vigilant,” explained Lori Dufficy, EVP, Director of Sales & Service of Chelsea Groton Bank, the largest mutual bank in Eastern Connecticut. “Fortunately, with a little planning and the latest banking technology, folks can reduce the risks.” 

Prior to traveling, Dufficy suggests learning about all of the online account management options your bank has available. It is also important to let the bank know when you are going out of town. She further explains most financial institutions like Chelsea Groton offer mobile banking apps with alert features that literally put account security in the palm of your hand:

  • Install the most up-to-date version of the mobile app to ensure the latest security measures.
  • Utilize Fingerprint Authentication. Set up your device to require your fingerprint in order to open the banking app.
  • Monitor your User Activity Log. Periodically review your login history for your online banking. This allows you to monitor when and how you’ve logged into your account and catch anything suspicious.
  • Set up online and mobile Banking Alerts. Chelsea Groton has 20 alerts you can choose from to notify you when transactions post to your account, when your balance is below the limit that you’ve established, if a large check has cleared, and more. This will help keep your accounts safe and avoid overdrafts. Send them to your email or right to your mobile device using Push Notifications.
  • Check balances and recent transactions quickly and easily with Fast Balances. View the available balance and recent transactions for the selected checking, savings or money market accounts without entering a Login ID or password. For security reasons, the account type and balances will be presented without names and account numbers.
  • Activate/Deactivate your Visa® Debit card as often as you like. If your debit card goes missing, or you want to prevent anyone else from using it, deactivate it and no purchases can be processed.
  • Electronically stop payment in the event you lose a check or worse – your entire checkbook. Some fees may apply.
  • Utilize telephone banking through Cellular networks and not Wi-Fi, especially when traveling. It is hard to know if a connection is secure, so it’s always best to use Cellular if possible. Data fees may apply.

“You should receive an automatic security alert each time you or the bank updates your personal information or if there was a failed login attempt,” said Dufficy. “We encourage our customers to contact us any time they need assistance.”

Dufficy shared additional tips from Unpack your wallet! Remove social security cards and anything else containing sensitive personal information and leave it in a secured place at home. Only bring two major credit cards (in case one gets compromised). Don’t leave your wallet unattended and avoid keeping it in your back pants pocket, or in a coat pocket, purse or backpack hung over a chair. Write down the phone numbers and account numbers for all of your credit cards in the event your cards or phone are stolen. Keep the written information in a safe place, such as a safe box in your room, so that you can still contact your card companies and/or bank to alert them if an issue arises. Resist the urge to post on social media while you are away to prevent not only property theft, but identity theft as well. It can take years for your credit to recover.

If you’re concerned about your credit after traveling, you can check your three credit reports for free once a year. To save money while traveling, check to see if your bank imposes ATM withdrawal fees at other banks. Chelsea Groton allows their customers access to their money at over 20,000 SUM® and MoneyPass® ATM locations across the country without a surcharge.  

To avoid unnecessary fees and inflated exchange rates in airports and hotels when traveling out of the country, order a multi-currency Cash Passportâ„¢ Prepaid MasterCard®, a prepaid travel money card for a secure and hassle-free method of payment. This also avoids international surcharges that are typically applied when you use a US credit card overseas.

Business owners have the added challenge of managing their commercial activities remotely. Chelsea Groton’s comprehensive suite of business solutions includes mobile banking with real-time alerts, mobile text banking, easy budgeting tools and more. Other Cash Management Services include Remote Deposit Capture Service, Wire Transfers, ACH Origination, Lock Box Service, Merchant Credit Card Processing, and Cash Management Sweep Services.

The Chelsea Groton App is available at the Apple App Store for Apple iOS® users and at the Google Play® Store for Android® users.