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Financial Resource Center

Travel Tips to Prevent Identity Theft

Help Protect Yourself From Identity Theft While Traveling

According to a May 2015 study released by Experian, one in five of us manage to lose some sort of sensitive personal information while traveling - from debit and credit cards to drivers’ licenses and passports. Not only can this ruin your trip, but it can also expose you to identity theft and financial fraud. However with proper planning, the following tips, courtesy of identityguard.com, can help you protect yourself and enjoy your vacation!

  • Don't leave critical documents in hotel rooms: Ideally, anything you keep in a hotel room should be safe from prying eyes. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. Since you can't guarantee that someone will end up getting their hands on the items you keep in your room, stay one step ahead by not leaving behind any sensitive information at your hotel in the first place.
     
  • Don't leave these records in cars either: Rental cars are just as vulnerable to theft as your own automobile, if not more so - after all, you never really know who had - or still has - access to your vacation wheels. Never leave behind travel documents or other personal records in your rental car.
     
  • Don't access bank accounts on public computers or Wi-Fi:  Whether you're on a hotel computer or using your own device on a public Wi-Fi connection, you should never try to access any of your private online accounts. These public computers and networks often don't come with any sort of cyber protection, leaving your personal information completely exposed to ID thieves.  It is much safer to only use your own devices on a cellular network or via a personal hotspot.
     
  • Keep your eyes and hands on your electronics at all times: Smartphones, tablets, and laptops now contain more than enough data for ID thieves to hijack your accounts. If you have to take any of these devices out with you, make sure they don't leave your sight.
     
  • Stay mindful of your surroundings: Unless you've frequented your vacation spot before, you'll likely be in unfamiliar territory, making it all too easy for others to prey on your personal information. Always be aware of people around you. This doesn't necessarily mean being fanatically suspicious about everyone present, but keep your eyes open for anyone who may be looking over your shoulder at the ATM, for example.
     
  • Watch out for pickpockets: While they aren't much of a fashion statement, body travel belts or fanny packs, and “cross-body” bags that can be securely fastened and carried in front of you can help defend your personal possessions against pickpockets and thieves.
     
  • Consider credit monitoring services: Before leaving on vacation, consider enlisting the help of a subscription credit monitoring service to oversee your credit activity and identify any suspicious transactions that appear during your travels. These services can keep you apprised of certain activity on your credit file that may indicate fraud, helping you to stave off identity thieves from causing further harm to your financial history. Please note, these services do typically have a monthly or annual subscription fee.

"ProtectMyID." ProtectMyID RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 May 2016. http://blog.protectmyid.com/2015/06/16/summer-travel-and-identity-theft-survey-results/.
"6 Tips for Identity Theft Protection While on Vacation | Identity Guard." Identity Guard RSS. N.p., 2014. Web. 24 May 2016. http://www.identityguard.com/identity-theft-resources/articles/identity-theft-protection-vacation-tips.

 

ID Theft and Security