By Ryan Harrison
BRITONS taking holidays in the Balearics and other sun spots in Spain have been put on a credit card alert this summer, as it was revealed that they are twice as likely to fall prey to credit card theft than anywhere elsewhere worldwide. The CPP Group Plc, a leading consumer advice organisation, has issued a warning after findings from a recent report show that out of the reported 13'000 cases of stolen and lost credit cards abroad last year, 21% occurred in Spain. By comparison, only 10% were reported in France and 7% in the USA, with card fraud from these countries alone last year accounting for a total loss of 44.5 million pounds. The CCP suggests that card fraud is a year-round problem in Spain, with a total of 2'730 cards reported stolen or lost over the last 12 months, the equivalent to more than nine charter flights full of Brits all having their cards stolen or lost. Jason Walsh, head of Card Protection Plan at CPP, said: “Spain is now the favourite holiday destination for people in the UK, but our love of the country comes at a price. More than 42 million Brits are due to fly abroad this summer, so we're urging travellers to remain vigilant at all times.” Despite efforts by card companies to use more intelligent fraud-detection systems to crack down on card crime, losses from credit and debit cards, issued in the UK and then used by fraudsters abroad, totalled 92.5 million in 2004. Here are the CPP's ten top tips for travellers this summer to prevent card crime. l 1. Wearing fewer clothes in the hot weather means wallets are more visible, so use a concealed money belt for valuables.
l 2. Keep possessions hidden in the car even when driving to guard against opportunistic thieves in slow-moving traffic.
l 3. When paying at a restaurant keep your card in sight at all times and ask for it to be returned promptly.
l 4. Inform your bank when on holiday as they may interpret the unusual foreign spending patterns as credit card fraud.
l 5. Keep a note of all your cards emergency phone numbers so you can cancel them the minute you detect foul play.
l 6. While on holiday you can easily be distracted, so don't leave credit or debits cards unattended when by the pool or beach or when sunbathing.
l 7. Busy airports are prime location for thieves, so when flying in and out be alert.
l 8. Be security conscious when at the cash machine. Be mindful of people around you looking over your shoulder.
l 9. Never leave cards at the top of your handbag or loose a pocket where they can be easily stolen.
l 10. When back home, check holiday receipts against your bank statements. If you find any strange transactions you don't recall, contact your card issuer immediately.


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