According to a 2011 Travel and Shopping Poll conducted by the AAA of Northern New England, an astonishing amount of survey participants, 80%, revealed that they do not notify their credit card company prior to leaving town on a trip, be it vacation, business or other type of travel. What many travelers don’t realize is that if they fail to tell their card issuer about their upcoming journey it could result in their creditor freezing the account as a precautionary safety measure due to concern that the card has been lost or stolen.
Additionally, 58% of poll respondents claim not to have the post office hold letter deliveries or make other arrangements to secure their mail while away from home on a trip. Not only is an overflowing mailbox a tip off to burglars that the house is vacant but any easily-accessible pre-approved credit card offers give fraudsters the perfect opportunity to open up fraudulent accounts.
If you have future travel plans, here are a few tips to keep your personal financial information such as your credit cards safe while you are away from home:
Repack Your Wallet
Before you leave on your adventure, empty out everything from your wallet and start from scratch. Don’t take every single credit card you own long with you, but fill it only with the ones you know you will use. Stash any extra cards in a safe place at home until you return.
Secure Your Papers
As part of securing your house in preparation for your absence, make sure you place all of your personal documents, financial and otherwise, into a safe or other locked container. There have been an increasing number of reports by victims of break-ins that the cooks made off with their credit card account numbers along with their valuables.
Use The Safe
Make sure that you use the safe in your hotel room to lock up whatever valuables you bring with you on your trip while you sleep and whenever you are not in the room. You should never carry all of your cards with you in your wallet while on vacation, but only the one you plan to use while leaving the others behind locked in the room safe in case of an emergency.
When you reach your destination, make sure that what you wear protects your credit cards and electronic devices such as cell phones from potential thieves. Consider using a money belt beneath your clothing, or keep your valuables inside something with secure pockets. There are amazing items on the market now such as specially-designed travel vests and jackets that can securely hold a tablet device such as an iPad.
Set A Password
If you bring a smartphone, tablet or laptop with you on your trip, be sure to password protect it in order to help prevent thieves from gaining access to your private information. This is especially important for devices that have apps leading directly to your credit card or bank accounts.
Monitor Your Accounts While Away
Even if you are out of the country, have a peek at your credit card and bank activity to make sure there has been no fraudulent activity. Just make certain that you do not log onto any credit card or banking website using a public computer or go online via an unsecured WiFi network.
Doing these things will greatly decrease the changes of your coming home to face the unpleasant shock that your identity has been compromised in your absence.