Dealing with identify theft when you’re traveling can put a real damper on summertime fun. Besides packing sunblock and getting travel insurance, there are some simple precautions that can be taken before, during and after a trip to protect your financial and personal information.
Thirty percent of travelers have either experienced identity theft or know someone who has, according to Experian’s ProtectMyID. While some travelers are taking steps to thwart thieves, many aren’t being proactive enough.
Batten down the hatches
Travelers tend to look for signs of theft when they arrive home from their trip but that can be too late. Many fail to check before or during their trip for red flags or to secure their information. Just 39% of travelers let their credit and debit card providers know they will be traveling before they leave town, while only 33% contact their banks. Doing both adds on an additional layer of security, and can avoid holds on your cards. Also, leave your Social Security card at home and put a password on your smartphone.
Respondents indicated that they feel the most at risk for identity theft in certain venues like restaurants (19%), internet cafes (15%), airports (14%) and hotels (14%). Actual numbers show hotels (24%) and restaurants (18%) as prime targets.
While staying in a hotel, lots of people have access to your room. Just over a third (35%) of people in the survey of 1,000 folks actually use hotel safes to keep important documents and other valuables safe. Nearly all (92%) of people in the study take both their credit and debit cards with them while traveling, but more than half don’t know what they are liable for if their card is lost or stolen.
All in all, seniors and women are more proactive at protecting their identities, taking steps to keep their identities safe before they hit the road as well as while they are traveling and when they get home.
Here is a list of things that people can do to keep their information safe when traveling:
Try not to use public WiFi. Create your own hot spot or use a portable router.
Don’t share your trip on social media until you get home.
Pay with your credit cards because they often provide better fraud protection than debit cards.
Go to a local bank branch to avoid skimming at ATM’s in tourist areas.
Let your bank know you’re traveling.
Leave your Social Security card and the credit cards you’re not going to use at home.
Take geo-tagging off you cameras.