Cash or credit card in Malaysia?

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If you are travelling to Malaysia, think twice about using your credit card.

I received a letter today telling me there is a risk of fraud on my credit card, and asking me to call to collect a new one. Sounds all very proactive, but that would be the fourth card in 12 months.

The first time it happened, I just took their explanation: "Our system records indicate thet unathorised activities may have been made involving a credit card with the captioned card number". When I called they said there hadn't actually been any false claims against my card, but they felt there would be. I changed the card, but also got to wondering what crystal ball they could be using.

The next time I asked again, and found it was because I had used my card in Malaysia, which was a high-risk location for credit card.

The next time it happened I was suspicious because I'd only used it once at the Marriott hotel in KL - and that didn't strike me as a hotbed of credit-card fraud.

This time I asked more, and they said it wasn't related to the merchant. So for all the talk of "unauthorised activities", it just meant they had noticed I've been to Malaysia. Sure enough, a quick web search shows there have been cases where phonelines are tapped to capture the credit card details: http://star-techcentral.com/tech/story.asp?file=/2004/3/9/itfeature/7347910&sec=itfeature

Anyhow, they've agreed not to swap the card, and will just let me know if they do actually spot anything strange going on.

Has anyone else faced this after a visit to Malaysia, or is it just the Hang Seng bank getting paranoid?

MrB