Protecting a bank account from theft

By Stanley Mui
This item appears on page 38 of the July 2019 issue.

I travel alone, so I always carry two ATM cards when traveling, a Charles Schwab Visa debit card and a Fidelity Cash Management Visa debit card, in case one is pickpocketed. I always notify Schwab and Fidelity about my travel plans so the cards won’t be blocked when I try to use them overseas.

I will carry an ATM card only on the day that I need to use it. Otherwise, I just take enough cash for the day.

I always try to stay vigilant when I take money out. I will usually use an ATM that is inside a secure area or where there is a guard standing nearby. I will try not to withdraw money after dark or use an ATM in a location other than a bank branch.

While on my trip, I check my bank balances online, not using free Wi-Fi from a place like Starbucks but connecting to the Internet somewhere where a password is required, like in a hotel.

Typically, I keep a low balance on the checking account in case someone somehow manages to steal my card and PIN and withdraw money. Schwab assured me that I would be reimbursed for a loss should someone steal my money, so long as I notify them of any unauthorized fraudulent transactions within a short time after discovering them.

Both Fidelity and Schwab debit cards have chips, but that doesn’t stop the thieves from stealing money if they steal your card.

If any ITN reader can suggest an additional precaution, I would love to read about it.

Woodland Hills, CA