Traveling is good and people love to do it. Most people are waiting for the opportunity to get on a flight or take a road trip to go see lived ones or even to spend some quality time alone or with someone special. The fact is whether we are traveling abroad or within the country it is something we look forward to with joy and happiness but it can come with some risks.
We are often distracted when traveling because we are either excited about where we are going or concentrating on the journey, the time it will take to get there and by so doing forget to protect the most valuable possession you have which is your identity. Identity theft happens all the time and one of the easiest ways it happens is when people are traveling.
Most travelers have their identity stolen while on a trip, it can be through unauthorized credit card usage, swiping of a passport or pickpocket. In this article, we highlighted how you can protect yourself from identity theft when you travel, they are;
1. Carry only the things you need
Never ever travel with your Social Security card, checkbook or your birth certificate. What you should carry is cash and small amounts and traveler’s check.
You can use credit cards because they are protected against theft and fraud but you also need to be careful with them and only stick to the good habits when using your debit or credit card.
When you are on a trip, there are lots of good steps that you can follow when using your debt or credit card. For instance, using an ATM directly at a local bank is safer than getting cash from a bar or restaurant locations as these locations are prone to being tampered with hence thieves can easily steal the data from your card.
2. Be mindful of what’s happening around you
You become an easy target when your attention is divided and diverted away from your valuables. A pickpocket can easily grab something from your bag or wallet and you wouldn’t know because you are not conscious of your surroundings.whether you go for sightseeing in New York or at the cathedrals of Rome always be cautious about your bag, wallet or purse.
3. Pay close attention to your electronic devices
Everyone travel with their smartphone or tab to stay in touch with people and also to capture moments as go by but it’s important to be mindful of everything else you have stored in your smartphone. Because if a thief grabs your smartphone or tab what else would they find? Do you have important information there like your account details, passwords, is there any record to show your personal identity? If it does then remove it or better still get another one that is void of these details because this is the easiest and fastest way your identity can be stolen.
4. Be careful in using ATM machines
It is very convenient to use an ATM machine you see especially when you are in need of cash but be reminded that identity thieves have been known to install fake ATM machine just to get your card data and pin.
Once they have your card information, they can make duplicate cards and access to your bank account so to avoid this always use ATM machines that is part of a bank building.
5. Do not use public WiFi for transaction
You should never use public WiFi to make financial transaction or make financial transaction using public computers such as in hotel business centers or in internet cafes. Do not even check your account balance with it. The reason is public WiFi signal can be high-jacked and there goes your information as well.
6. Change your PINs and Password for your trip
Just for the purpose of travel you can change your PINs and Passwords before leaving your home. This way, it will be more difficult for thieves to get your financial data. When your get back from your trip you can change it back. This is so important, it will protect your identity moving forward if it had already been stolen.
7. Call your bank and credit card companies before you travel
This is one of the most protective things you can do to protect your identity from being stolen while on a trip. It’s important to let your bank and credit card companies know your are traveling, the dates and your destination. When they see charges that may be more than you normally spend they already know what to do.
8. Travel with an RFID Blocking Wallet
Most identify thieves carry Radiofrequency Identification Technology commonly known as RFID. This is used on important documents and cards. These thieves use RFID readers to steal your information by just getting close to your wallet but to avoid this and protect your identity you can carry an RFID Blocking wallet which will make it difficult for these thieves to steal your information.
9. Delete your bank apps
Most times on a trip we often check our phones as though we were home because we are used to doing it that way. But it’s important to be mindful that you are in another country so it’s important you take extra precautions on the apps you open because your data can be easily stolen if you are not on a secured connection. So, in order to protect your identity from being stolen be sure to delete apps that might have a great deal of personal information on them such as banking apps.
In addition, it’s good to keep a password in your phone so you wouldn’t have to worry if it’s stolen because they won’t gain access to your banking apps, emails and other information you might have in your phone.
10. Check your Credit Report once you get back
This first sign that your identity has been stolen is usually a discrepancy in your credit report. It is good to review your credit report before you travel and do it again when you are back to see if there are inaccuracies. It’s also important to check your bank accounts as well.
11. Have an Identity Theft Insurance
Identity theft insurance is usually available as an add-on to your standard homeowner’s policy. They provide professional guidance, and extra protection if your identity is stolen and also help with the costs of clearing your name and walk you through the process of restoring your identity if you are a victim of identity theft.