LONDON .  As nearly half a million of fans descend upon Rio de Janeiro this summer, visitors and residents alike need to be aware of fraudsters and cybercriminals, warns ACI Worldwide (NASDAQ: ACIW), a leading global provider of real-time electronic payment, banking and fraud prevention solutions.

Brazil has among the world’s highest rates of debit and credit card fraud, according to the 2016 Global Consumer Fraud Survey, published by ACI Worldwide and Aite earlier this month. The research shows that almost half of consumers in Brazil (49%) had experienced some kind of card fraud in the past five years. Only Mexico has a higher card fraud rate (56%) than Brazil, followed by the US in third (47%). Maybe even more alarming is the fact that only two years ago, just 30 percent of those surveyed in Brazil said they had been a victim of card fraud, highlighting that the fraud problem in Brazil is growing.

The survey also reveals worrying growth in cardholders engaging in risky behaviors when it comes to managing their cards and security credentials. Over 50 percent of those surveyed admitted to practices like writing down PIN numbers and storing them close to cards. In many countries, around a quarter of respondents never secure their phone.

 Jay Floyd, Head of Fraud Strategy EMEA at ACI Worldwide:

Jay Floyd“With fraud rates in Brazil continuing to soar, it is important that visitors to the Rio Games do everything they can to protect themselves. Our research shows that the careless behaviour of many consumers contributes to the perpetration of fraud. Although many banks have invested in robust technology to quickly identify card fraud and will reimburse costumers in case of fraud, it is better to avoid becoming a victim and having your holidays spoiled by fraudsters in the first place.”

Here are ACI’s 5 top tips for protecting your card and your identity:

  1. When shopping in Brazil (or any other tourist destination for that matter), seek out retailers that offer their customers to pay via EMV-terminals; these are devices that let you pay with your chip-and-pin cards and not just via the magnetic stripe on the back of your credit card. While chip-and-pin terminals are the standard in most European countries, this is not the case in Brazil and other parts of North and South America (including the US). Magnetic stripes on the back of credit cards contain your account data that easily can be copied by fraudsters. When in doubt, pay in cash!
  2. Lock your smart phone or tablet! Many people never lock their smartphone; if a pickpocket or fraudster gets hold of it, they will be able to access valuable data stored on these devices.
  3. Many cardholders across the world engage in risky behaviors when it comes to managing their cards and security credentials. Never store your cards and security credentials in the same place. This is an invitation for fraudsters to use them.
  4. Use a PIN (Personal Identification Number) if you have to make multiple transactions in a short amount of time, as it is the best way to reduce the likelihood of being declined.
  5. Call your bank before you take an international trip to let them know you will be travelling. Update your phone numbers for your bank, receiving the alert on your mobile phone should be the priority—especially when traveling abroad

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