Identity theft is an increasingly common crime, with identity thieves finding more cunning and invasive ways to extract personally identifying and valuable information. That’s why it’s always important that you take steps to protect your identity. This goes for when you’re on vacation too. Just because you’re taking a break from other parts of your life doesn’t mean you can pause for a minute when it comes to protecting your identity. When you travel, follow these simply steps to help protect your identity.
Carry only the essentials when you’re traveling
Almost any document with identifying information – be it a credit card, bank statement, blank check, or even a wholesale club membership card – can be useful to an identity thief. Before you travel, purge your wallet, briefcase or purse of items and documents you won’t need while on your trip. This includes carrying only the one or two credit cards you will need for your trip. The less you carry the less risk there is of having valuable identifying information get into the wrong hands.
Use technology responsibly
It’s common to travel with multiple pieces of technology. Yet using technology while traveling can expose your personal information to risks. If your device is lost or stolen, the personal information it contains could benefit identity thieves. Make sure your laptops, tablets and cell phones are password protected to reduce a thief’s ability to get their hands on your private information.
Keep in mind that industrious identity thieves don’t have to physically have their hands on your devices to access your information. There’s no guarantee that free Wi-Fi hotspots are secure. Be careful about what you access over a free or public connection; try to avoid accessing any password-protected sites while you’re using public Wi-Fi service.
Safe travels includes safety at home
There’s more to securing your home than locking your doors and enabling an alarm system. Before you travel, be sure that important documents such as birth certificates, passports (if not needed for your travels), and financial papers are secured. If someone should break in, don’t make it easy for them to steal your identity.
Take simple steps so your home doesn’t look empty. Put your newspaper and mail delivery on hold, put lights on a timer, and ask a trusted friend or neighbor to keep an eye on your place.
Home Sweet HomeAfter you’ve returned home, don’t drop your guard just because everything appears copacetic. Keep an eye on your credit report and financial accounts for unfamiliar activity. Consider choosing and AAA identity monitoring provider like ProtectMyID®, offered by AAA to members with enrollment. Checking your credit report regularly can help you catch fraud as soon as it shows up in your credit history.