Personal Finance: Ask the Experts

Get advice on money matters from The Bee's Claudia Buck and a panel of local experts

August 9, 2013
More tips on avoiding scams on vacation or business travels

In Sunday's column on travel scams, we looked at a number of financial frauds that can trip you up, whether on vacation or business.

Here are a few more savvy-traveler tips, from travel companies Fodor's and Lonely Planet.

1. Look back. Whether you're leaving a train seat or a cozy cafe, always look back at your seat to be sure you haven't left behind a backpack, camera or jacket. And never dangle any of those off the back of your chair, where they can easily be swiped.

2. Be upfront. Keep your wallet in a front pocket. Keep extra money or extra credit cards separately from your wallet, just so you have backup funds in case you're pick-pocketed.

3. Avoid PDAs. That's "Public Displays of Affluence," according to Lonely Planet, which advises against wearing expensive jewelry or a pricey camera slung around your neck. Especially if heading overseas, leave the gold bling at home and keep your expensive camera in its case when not in use.

4. Buy travel insurance. It could make a difference if something happens. But compare policies to be sure they cover the kinds of emergencies you think you might encounter.

5. Novice alert. Be wary of learning to ride a motor scooter or jet ski in a foreign country. The chances of getting into an accident are greater if you're a first-timer.

6. Check credentials. If you're signing up for a tour or scuba lessons, check the company's credentials and licensing ahead of time. The Professional Association of Diving Instructors, for instance, lists accredited scuba instructors in other countries.

7. No credit cards at Internet cafes. Don't use a credit card to pay for Internet time and especially don't check your financial accounts or shop online in a public place. You could be targeted by thieves using software that records your computer keystrokes, giving them access to passwords or online accounts.

8. Muggers and beggars. Lonely Planet said giving cash to beggars is not advised, because you could become targeted by others if you're handing out money. And if someone tries to grab your purse, wallet or watch, give it up. It's easier than getting injured or worse.

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Meet Our Financial Experts

Claudia Buck

Claudia Buck is The Sacramento Bee's personal finance columnist. Read all her columns here. Contact her at

Terri Carpenter

Terri Carpenter offers advice on job hunting, retraining and career counseling. Carpenter works at Sacramento Works Inc., the career and job training arm of the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA). With 15 years in the field, she has hands-on experience with everyone from first-time job seekers to career professionals seeking advice after a layoff or looking for a mid-career change. Ask her a question.

Carlena Tapella

Carlena Tapella is a partner in the law firm of Webb & Tapella Law Corp. in Sacramento. The firm specializes in estate planning and probate, such as estates, trusts, conservatorships and litigation. She is a past president of the Sacramento County Bar Association's Estate Planning & Probate Section. Ask her a question.

Kimberly Foss

Kimberly Foss, certified financial planner, is the founder of Empyrion Wealth Management in Roseville. With nearly 30 years in the financial industry, her clients include women in transition, small business owners, retirees and "pre-retirees." Ask her a question.

Jesse Weller

Gregory Burke, a CPA and tax expert with John Waddell & Co. in Sacramento since 1984, worked as an IRS tax auditor for six years. He’s a past chairman of the California Society of CPAs. Ask him a question.

Daniel Tahara

Daniel Tahara takes your questions about California taxes. Tahara, a spokesman for the state Franchise Tax Board, has 10 years of experience as a tax auditor. Ask him a question.

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