Identity Thieves Don’t Take Vacations, but They Can Enjoy Yours
Vacation is the perfect time to escape daily pressures and kick back, but that doesn’t mean that while traveling you can relax about identity theft. Identity thieves know how to take advantage of vacationers while they’re having fun, so it’s important to take steps to protect your identity when you’re away from home.
With a few precautions, you can enjoy your vacation knowing your only worry is whether to hit the beach or lounge by the pool.
- Don’t over pack. Avoid carrying valuables like expensive jewelry. Pack only the identification that you’ll really need – your driver’s license or your passport if you’re traveling outside the country – and just one credit card that you’ll use throughout the trip. Leave additional credit cards and other potentially identifying cards and documents, such as your Social Security card or wholesale club membership card, at home. The less you have in your wallet, the less you’ll have to worry about if your wallet is lost or stolen.
- Check for travel alerts. The U.S. Department of State issues warnings to alert travelers to possible dangers in locations around the world. Before you leave on your trip, check out their website to learn about any warnings that may be in effect for your destination.
- Use the hotel safe. Many hotels, especially those in resort areas, offer in-room safes. Store IDs that you don’t need, extra cash, credit cards and other valuables in the hotel safe.
- Be alert to your surroundings. Learning the area can help you navigate while on vacation. Be aware of who’s around you, especially if you use an ATM in a strange area.
- Don’t use public WiFi to access financial accounts. If you have to check your bank account or other financial account from your smartphone, use your 3G or 4G connection. Accessing financial accounts through unsecured wireless networks may expose your password and other information to hackers. And if you use a public terminal, like those found in some airports, delete the cookies and history from the browser before you move on.
- Secure your devices. If you’ll be traveling with your smartphone, tablet or laptop, be sure to secure them with password protection and anti-malware, spyware and virus software.
- Keep an eye on things after you’re home. It’s possible a thief could steal your personal information while you’re traveling and not use it until you’ve returned home. When you get back from vacation, check your credit report, bank account and other financial accounts to ensure there are no signs of identity theft.
By remaining vigilant about identity theft while traveling, you can reduce the chance of falling victim – and ensure the only thing you bring home from vacation are souvenirs, photos and great memories.