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Travelling for March Break? MasterCard Offers Travel Tips to Reduce the Risk of Fraud

National poll reveals less than a quarter of Canadians give their payment card company a heads-up on travel plans and nearly half forget to renew their passport or get vaccinated

TORONTO, March 3, 2010 – March is Fraud Prevention Month and with many families opting to travel over March Break, MasterCard Canada is offering Canadians key travel tips to help them reduce the risk of fraud, theft and illness before, during and after a family vacation. According to new research from MasterCard Canada, less than a quarter (23 per cent) of Canadians let their payment card company know they’ll be away and less than half don’t remember to renew their passport (49 per cent) or get vaccinated (43 per cent).

“Simple tips like calling your credit card issuer can help Canadians keep fraud and theft at bay during their March Break holiday,” says Julie Wilson, MasterCard Canada. “Spending as little as 10 or 15 minutes to prepare a trip safety checklist can go a long way to ensure a safe and happy getaway.”

What you should know before you go
Seven in 10 Canadians prioritize having a friend or family collect their mail above any other travel preparations, including vaccinations and updating travel and financial documents.

Before leaving on vacation remember to:
  • Do your research – To find out more about the country you’ll be travelling to, Foreign Affairs Canada provides detailed travel reports and warnings, which are available at www.travel.gc.ca to help you prepare.
  • Check your passport – Canadian passports expire after five years, so to ensure you aren’t left at the gate, check the expiration date on your passport. Renewal instructions can be found at www.passportcanada.gc.ca.
  • Get vaccinated – If you are planning to travel outside of Canada, you may require immunizations. Vaccines are necessary for protection against diseases that are still common in many parts of the world i.e. Malaria, Hepatitis A and B. If you’re not sure what vaccinations you need, visit www.publichealth.gc.ca.
  • Notify your credit card issuer in advance – Tell your credit card issuer when and where you’ll be travelling so if they see unusual activity on your account they’ll know why. Your card issuer’s contact information can be found on the back of your credit card.
  • Ask a friend or family member to collect your mail – Your mail may contain statements and other documents with personal or sensitive information. To reduce the risk of identity theft, make sure someone you trust is keeping your mail safe until you return.

Take care while you’re there
While on vacation, one in 10 Canadians has experienced the loss of money or important travel documents.

To protect yourself and your family while you’re away, don’t forget to:
  • Only carry the essentials – Carry minimal cash and clean out your wallet. The more items and pieces of information a thief gets, the more damage they can do.
  • Keep your passport and other important travel documents safe and secure – Wear a money belt under your clothes or use the hotel safe to store your valuables. Never leave your money, credit cards, jewellery, cameras, or other important items out in the open in your hotel room.
  • Keep directions to your hotel handy – Before you head out to explore your new surroundings, grab a complimentary map and ask the concierge to mark where the hotel is located or take the hotel’s card. In case you get lost or need assistance you can find your way back or instruct a taxi driver to take you back to the hotel.
  • Know your Canadian consulate – Consular Services is your safe-travel partner and is devoted to assisting Canadians with difficulties they may experience abroad. Approximately 260 offices in 150 countries worldwide are ready to serve Canadians travelling. Emergency consular assistance is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For a full list of offices visit www.international.gc.ca.

Home sweet home?
Upon returning from a vacation, a third (29 per cent) of Canadians have noticed their luggage missing, found unexplained charges on their payment card (13 per cent), had their home broken into (5 per cent) or had their mail stolen (5 per cent).

“Coming home only to realize you’ve lost a piece of luggage or to find unauthorized charges on your credit card is enough to undo a relaxing vacation,” says Wilson.

When you’re home it’s important to check:
  • Receipts from your credit card purchases – Cross-check them against your statement and notify your card issuer immediately if you see any unusual or unexpected items. If you are a MasterCard cardholder, you receive the benefit of Zero Liability. If someone makes an unauthorized purchase using your MasterCard, you will not be responsible for that purchase. For more details on Zero Liability visit www.mastercard.ca.
  • Your luggage – If your luggage has gone missing make sure you contact the airline immediately and ask them to update you on the status of your baggage. Be prepared to provide a detailed description of your bag. Once the airline has traced your bag they will give you an idea of when it will arrive and deliver it to your home.
  • Around the home – Before you unpack and unwind from your vacation, take a look around your home to make sure nothing is missing or out of place. If there are any signs of burglary contact the police immediately.

About the survey
The survey was conducted by Toronto-based Research House on behalf of MasterCard Canada from January 25-29, 2010. The online survey is based on a randomly selected sample of 1,013 Canadians ages 18+. The margin of error for a sample of this size is +/- 3.10%, 19 times out of 20.

About MasterCard Worldwide
MasterCard Worldwide advances global commerce by providing a critical economic link among financial institutions, businesses, cardholders and merchants worldwide. As a franchisor, processor and advisor, MasterCard develops and markets payment solutions, processes over 22 billion transactions each year, and provides industry-leading analysis and consulting services to financial-institution customers and merchants. Powered by the MasterCard Worldwide Network and through its family of brands, including MasterCard®, Maestro® and Cirrus®, MasterCard serves consumers and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. For more information go to www.mastercard.com. Follow us on Twitter: @mastercardnews.

For more information, please contact:

Sheryl So
416-969-2725
sso@environicspr.com

Olivia Yu
416-969-2718
oyu@environicspr.com