Identity Theft Protection While Traveling
Travel can make you especially vulnerable to identity theft. Regardless of where you’re visiting, you’ll likely be carrying more valuables with you than usual. It’s crucial to prepare ahead of time and do what you can to prevent identity theft while traveling.
Preparing to Travel
There are some important steps to take before you leave – to start, lock up any valuable information at home. Put your mail on postal hold and arrange for mail to be picked up only by you at the post office when you return. When it’s time to fly, don’t put any items that contain your card numbers or financial institution account numbers in checked luggage. If you’re making payments on the plane or at the airport, make sure other travelers can’t view your card information. Never carry your Social Security Number with you, whether traveling domestically or abroad. Once you arrive at your destination, keep all valuables locked up in your hotel room safe, including laptops, passports and other documents that contain personal or financial information.
Stolen wallets frequently lead to identity theft, so consider using travel pouches rather than carrying your wallet in a pocket or in your bag. Travel pouches prevent you from accidentally leaving your wallet in a vulnerable place. If you go to a restaurant and pay with a credit card, make sure you sign the receipts and hand them directly back to the waiter or waitress. Also, keep a copy of your receipts. Leave checkbooks at home in a locked safe or drawer.
Always protect your smartphone with complex passwords or passcodes. It’s an easy step that can make or break your online security. If possible, turn Bluetooth off as an added security measure. Install applications that allow you to GPS-track or disable your phone in case it’s lost or stolen. Be aware that many free Wi-Fi networks at cafes, hotels, and public places are not secure. Avoid entering private information such as bank account numbers or logins on public computers. Never auto save information or passwords and clear your search history after use. If possible, open a private browsing window that won’t save passwords, history, or cookies.
Remember, while these steps are simple on their own, used in combination they can create a valuable safety net when you’re traveling. Put them in practice for and your family so you can spend your time enjoying your trip without worrying about privacy.
Family Trust makes sure you have access to your debit and credit cards while on vacation by informing us of your travel plans ahead of time. In addition to help keep you safe, Family Trust offers an ID protection plan. IDProtect is a monitoring service that can help you prevent identity fraud and let you know if it happens so you can act quickly. Our Premier Choice Checking account offers this service for free. To enroll, call 1-803-367-4100 or visit a branch.