Traveling can be a relaxing getaway or your worst nightmare. When it comes to identity theft, no one is immune. The things you normally do, like logging on to social media, using an open Wi-Fi, or not tearing up a boarding pass before throwing it away, can put you at risk for identity theft.
Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, nationally or internationally, use these tips before, during, and after your trip to prevent possible identity theft.
- Don’t announce your travel plans on social media. There is always a way to get information through social media even if your profile is private because most intruders are people you know. Posting that information invites unwelcome house guests while you’re away.
- Hold your mail. Piles of newspapers, letters peeking out of the mailbox, and packages at the front door are clear identifiers that you’re not home. Place a hold on your mail at your local post office and pick it up when you return.
- Don’t put full address on luggage. All you need to put on your luggage tag is your last name and phone number to avoid someone seeing your address.
- Protect your smartphone. Put a password on your phone and turn on the GPS (Find My iPhone) to locate it if you lose it. A cell phone is our main tool in an emergency, so don’t be in a situation where you can’t use it. Bring along BoostTurbine, a manual smartphone charger, that gives your phone (or any device with a USB) a full charge.
- Keep your wallet light. Our wallets always seem to be overflowing with member cards, gift cards, and other personal items. Only carry the essentials and leave any other card with your name on it at home.
- Use a secure ATM. A recent trend of scammers is to install card readers in ATM machines near high tourist areas. If the cash you withdraw before you leave isn’t enough, use your card in ATMs only located in a bank.
- Lock it up. If you’re in a hotel, take advantage of the safe they provide. Don’t leave out any documents containing personal information.
- Follow up after your trip. When you get home and even a few weeks after, check your bank activity, insurance activity, and other important information for any slight changes. Changing your PIN number and passwords is also a good defense maneuver when you return from your trip.
What do you do to protect your identity when you travel? Please share in the comments below!