CONTENT PROVIDED BY IDENTITYPROTECTOR
Identity thieves are increasingly targeting travelers, turning family getaways into financial nightmares. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent identity fraud while traveling. The easiest is to get protected. IdentityProtector continuously monitors for several types of identity fraud, so you’re protected no matter where you are.
When you’re traveling, follow these 10 simple tips to protect your family and make the most of your vacation.
Clean Up Before You Leave
Tidying your important documents before you leave can help you avoid returning home to a potential financial mess. Store documents such as Social Security cards, birth certificates, home deeds, or old tax returns in a secure location. If you have any financial documents lying around, like old credit card statements or last year’s credit report, shred them.
Know What’s in Your Wallet
When you travel, you should never carry more than 2 cards with you: your debit card and a credit card. This gives you easy access to your money from any ATM, and the security of having a line a credit available when you need it. Everything else should be removed from your wallet, including additional cards, old receipts, and your Social Security card. As an IdentityProtector member, if your wallet is ever lost or stolen, our fraud resolution agents will assist you in determining which cards are missing and work with you to cancel the cards and get new cards re-issued in your name.
Contact Your Bank(s)
Let your banks and credit card companies know where you will be traveling and for how long. Most banks have some form of automatic fraud protection in place, and your sudden city hopping might set this off. Notifying them will help you avoid the embarrassment of trying to pay for something only to find out your card has been suspended for your protection. More importantly, if you let the bank know you’re headed to Florida, and suddenly you’re making payments in Utah, it’s going to set off a red flag.
Hold Your Mail
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service recommends promptly removing your mail after it’s delivered to avoid mail-related identity fraud. So before you hop on that plane, contact the postal service and ask them hold your mail.
Be Cautious When Using Public Internet
Whether you’re using airport Wi-Fi, a wired connection in your hotel room, or the public computers in the hotel lobby, be careful what sites you access and what type of information you send when you’re using public Internet. Public Internet is great for surfing the Web or browsing Facebook, but when you need to access secure sites, such as your bank account, use your phone or set up your own password-protected Hot Spot.
Use Credit Cards
Credit cards provide greater protection against identity fraud. Thanks to the Fair Credit Billing Act, the most a credit card company can bill you for an erroneous charge is $50, and many credit card companies have their own zero liability protection, so you won’t pay anything for a fraudulent purchase. If you’re using a debit card, you could lose up to $500 for the same fraudulent transaction. And after 60 days, you may be responsible for the entire amount.
Don’t Be Too Social
Traveling is exciting—and you want to share that excitement with the whole world. But when you post publicly about your vacation, your announcing to the world that your away and your home empty and unprotected. While you’re away, limit the visibility of your social media updates to just your family and closest friends. IdentityProtector can help by alerting you if we detect privacy and reputation risks associated with your social network accounts.
Use the Hotel Safe
When your family is out exploring the new city, ask the hotel manager to store your passports and other important documents in the hotel safe, rather than using the in-room safe. In-room safes—even the ones that let you create your own passcode—offer only slightly more protection than hiding your items in a drawer, because housekeeping and other hotel staff members often have access to a master code, just in case you forget to open the safe before checking out.
Secure Your Electronic Devices
Losing a cell phone or laptop while on vacation isn’t just an inconvenience. It could also quickly turn into identity fraud. We store tons of private information on those devices: passwords, credit card information, private photos, medical records, and more. Before you leave for vacation, set up a secure password for all your electronic devices. If they offer remote tracking and/or a remote-wipe feature, make sure those are activated as well and you know how to use them.
Empty Your Back Pockets
With all the new, high-tech ways thieves can steal your personal information, it’s easy to forget that old-fashioned pickpocketing still happens. Store your money, credit cards, and important documents safe in a money bag, purse you can seal, or at the very least your front pocket. That bulging back pocket is like a bullseye to pickpockets.
Traveling should be a fun experience for you and your family. It shouldn’t be a source of worry or stress. Following these 10 tips will help you avoid becoming a target for identity thieves while you travel. For added piece of mind, IdentityProtector can alert you when we detect your information being potentially misused, such as to open a new credit card or bank account. Use Promo Code FAMILYDISCOUNT20 at checkout for 20%off an entire year.
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