Traveling can be stressful, even when everything goes right. Encountering a problem like identify theft can quickly turn a happy trip into a nightmare. Here are several tips to help keep your trip on track.
Lock Your Car
This may be second nature to you. Even if you don’t have valuables in your car, you probably have your registration and insurance or other identifying information in your glove box. Only keep paperwork that you absolutely need and keep your car locked. Be sure to leave your garage door opener at home when you travel. A thief can easily steal your opener and your address, and invade your home while you are away.
Take Only What You Need
If you are taking a trip, you likely don’t need everything that you keep in your wallet while you are home. Pick only the credit cards that you absolutely need, and take only the identifying papers that are necessary. Keep a photocopy of the cards and identification you are taking, and have a relative or friend keep if for you in case you lose something on the road.
Smart Phone Smarts
If you don’t already lock your phone with a pass code, traveling is a good time to implement this practice. Use a code that is easy to remember, but not obvious numbers like “0000” or your birth year. Back up your phone to a safe location before you leave in case your phone is lost on the trip. Remove any unnecessary information that might help a thief.
Credit Cards and Cash
Use a credit card rather than a debit card so you can dispute any unknown charges. Be extremely cautious when using ATM machines. Use ATMs that are in known, safe locations like bank lobbies. Always cover the keypad when entering your PIN code to avoid prying eyes. Use cash as much as possible to avoid your credit card being duplicated when it is out of your sight.
Did You Know?
Over 12 million people are victims of identify fraud each year, losing approximately $5,000 per incident for a total of over $25 billion in loss.
Don’t leave valuables unattended in your hotel room. Use an in-room safe, or carry your identity and credit cards with you.
If you use a public computer, be extremely cautious about the sites you visit. Limit bank site access to your own smart phone or tablet. Don’t use public, unsecured wireless for any activities that involve your identity. Turn wi-fi off to avoid your phone connecting to unsecured networks without your knowledge. Do use a secured network or your phone to periodically check your bank or credit cards for unknown charges. You want to know as soon as possible if your phone has been compromised.
These tips and careful attention to your valuables can help you have a safe an enjoyable trip!