Are you looking forward to your summer vacation? Maybe you’ll be taking a road trip with your friends, cruising on the high seas with your family or finally going on that romantic European holiday with your honey.
Whatever your summer travel plans, you should remember that identity theft never takes a holiday. Identity thieves might enjoy your vacation too, if you overlook important security steps – like credit monitoring – while you travel.
In addition to all the things you do to protect your identity during your daily life, these preventative measures are especially important when you travel:
Pack (Your Wallet) Lightly
Leave your Social Security card at home; you really don’t need it at all when you travel. Only carry your passport when you travel abroad, unless you plan to rent a car in which case you will want to bring your driver’s license. Limit yourself to one credit card and if you’ll be out of the country leave your debit card at home. Remove your checkbook, library card, deposit slips, bill stubs, pay stubs and anything else from your purse that contains identifying information. Forgo fashion and carry your money and documents in a fanny pack or travel bag that you can wear under your clothes. Lost and stolen wallets are still one of the most common avenues for identity theft.
Look Over Your Shoulder
Pick pockets frequent tourist areas and target travelers who look like they’re distracted or unaware of their surroundings. Likewise, when you’re talking on your cell phone in an airport or public place, using your password-protected electronic device, or swiping your card at the ATM machine, glance over your shoulder to make sure no one is trying to steal any personal, identifying information.
Don’t Advertise Your Absence
Put your mail on hold and discontinue newspaper delivery while you’re away. Overflowing mailboxes and newspapers on the lawn are red flags that a home is unoccupied. Minimize the number of people who know you’re away and avoid talking about details of your travel plans in public places, including online social networks, where unwelcome ears could be listening. Make sure your credit monitoring membership is active before you go, so you can receive updates to your smart phone.
Be Prepared with Backup
Make photocopies of all your travel documents, like plane tickets, hotel reservations, passports, etc. and store them in the hotel safe. That way, if your wallet or purse is lost or stolen while you’re out, you’ll have all the information you need to protect yourself and keep your vacation going.
By taking a few preventative measures before you leave home, and while you’re on the road, you can help ensure your trip stays free from identity theft – and all you bring home are happy memories, a few souvenirs and a great tan!