How to Prevent Identity Theft While Traveling
The holidays are a time best spent with family and friends. Many times, family and friends live in a different area and many have to travel to spend the holidays with the ones they love. The holidays can be a hectic time and adding traveling in the mix, only makes for a more hectic environment. This creates an effect which potentially makes a hot bed for criminals to be able to steal your identity. Frazzled minds can easily be distracted, leaving you an open target for identity theft. It is important to understand the dangers during holiday travel and take the appropriate measures to avoid identity theft from happening to you.
Lighten the Load
First, it is important to lighten the load you have on your wallet or in your purse. You want to be sure that you leave any important documents at home, such as your social security card or other personal documents. Your wallet needs to be light and offer no information for criminals to be able to use for their gain.
Surfing Online? Protect Yourself!
During holiday travel, we all need to stay connected. One way to do this is with a Wi-Fi connection. Airports, hotels and other areas offer Wi-Fi connections that travelers use on a regular basis to be able to connect with their employer, pay bills while on the go or to connect with social sites. These connections are supposed to be secure; however, many times these connections are breached and can cause the loss of identity for travelers. It is important for everyone to understand the security measures in place as they use a Wi-Fi connection to remain safe and secure. Find out these procedures before accessing personal sites over a Wi-Fi connection.
Limit Credit Cards
It is also important to limit the number of credit cards you take on your holiday trip. Remove all credit cards but one if you can. This way, criminals and thieves will have less opportunity to steal a credit card that they could use to hurt your credit score. It is also suggested that travelers copy each of their credit cards that they travel with to be able to have access to the information needed to be able to cancel these cards if needed.
Alert Credit Card Company of Travel
Travelers can also alert their credit card company that they will be traveling out of town. If you travel a long distance, your credit card company may think there is an issue and you may be without your card for a period of time. Let your credit card company know you are going to be traveling to another area so they will not flag certain purchases while you travel.
Stick With Bank ATMs
It is also important for travelers to use only bank ATMS when withdrawing cash during holiday travel. There is a criminal process titled ‘skimming’ which allows a criminal to obtain your bank account information and pin number. The skimmer will be attached to the ATM and will look like it belongs on the machine but in fact it does not. It is best to stick with your bank branch or a well know bank brand to make sure that your information is safe and secure.
Keep Facebook Free of Your Trip
When traveling for the holidays, many travelers want to let everyone know by updating their Facebook and Twitter status. This is not the best idea. If the wrong person finds out that you are away from home, they will be able to break in to your home and possibly steal your identity, not to mention your stuff! Keep your updates to a minimum so that your identity as well as home will be secure.