Vacationers often unknowingly leave their personal information exposed to thieves while traveling, which can turn a worry-free break into a prolonged and stressful fight to reclaim a stolen identity.
Follow these vacation safety tips to ensure you’re getting adequate identity theft prevention, no matter where you travel.
When booking a vacation rental, only use legitimate vacation rental sites and do some research before sending funds online directly to a property owner. Remember that it’s never wise to send money by linking your bank account to the recipient. Instead, consider using a reputable go-between.
Password-protect your smartphone and other devices that you bring on trips, especially if you have financial apps or other sensitive information stored on them. Even with a fingerprint reader enabled, you should still use a strong passcode of four digits or more to prevent access to your phone should it be stolen.
Avoid using public Wi-Fi, even to check your email. These connections can be insecure, thus thwarting your efforts at identity theft prevention. Criminals could get into your system covertly and then install a keylogger program that sends all your activity back to them.
Post and tweet wisely. Even if your Facebook account is set to the highest privacy levels possible (and it should be), there are still ways for criminals to see some of your posts. Letting them know you’re thousands of miles away from home is never a good idea, since they could take the opportunity to break into your house, steal whatever mail is piling up or open credit accounts while you’re gone.
Make copies of your travel documents. That way, if you lose your passport, driver’s license or credit cards (copy the back as well as the front), you can act quickly to put identity theft prevention tactics into place.
Check your bank and credit card statements carefully after you return. Sometimes, travelers don’t even know they’ve been hit until the card they used on vacation suddenly has hundreds of dollars in additional charges.
Taking reasonable precautions while on vacation won’t just keep your identity safer this summer, it’ll also give you peace of mind so you can focus on enjoying time with family and friends.