The summer travel season is here and many people are excited to go on vacation. Online bookings for flights, hotels, and activities are at their yearly peak. Unfortunately, for travelers who aren’t careful, all this activity comes with an increased chance of identity theft. Before you go on vacation it’s a good idea to take some precautionary steps to protect your identity. Here are protecting identity during summer travel.
Book Your Trip With a Credit Card
When you book a flight, a place to stay or activities for your vacation, use your credit card, not your debit or ATM card. Credit card companies are better equipped to handle fraud. They are always on the lookout for fraudulent activity and report to credit agencies, which helps spot any problems with your account. Many credit cards also offer travel insurance, which can help protect you from potential problems, like delayed and canceled flights or baggage issues.
Alert Financial Companies About Travel
Credit card companies and banks often flag potential fraud. If you make a charge on your card in another country, chances are good that your financial institutions will freeze the account to prevent identity theft. Make sure to notify your credit card companies and banks before you go on a trip to prevent this while you travel. Alerting these companies also helps them spot activity that doesn’t fit inwith your trip.
Leave Important Files at Home
Don’t risk sensitive documents being stolen on your trip. The fewer you take, the fewer chances criminals have to steal them. Any credit or debit cards you don’t plan to use on your trip should stay at home. Other vital documents you might normally carry, such as your Social Security card, should also stay behind. Keep your wallet lean when you travel. It doesn’t take a lot of personal information for an experienced thief to gain access to your accounts or identity, so limit it whenever possible.
Make It Appear That You Never Left
It’s a good idea to make it seem like you haven’t left for vacation. Eliminate the temptation for thieves by freezing your mail delivery on the dates you are gone. Set timers on your lights to come on in the evenings. Tell a trusted neighbor when you will be away, so they can keep an eye on your home.
Resist the Urge to Overshare on Social Media
You’re excited about your trip. That’s understandable. But don’t post about it on social media. Posting about your travels before you leave, or even posting photos during your trip can alert potential thieves that you are out of town, and that makes you a lot more susceptible to identity theft. Instead, post your vacation photos online when you return.
Important Tip for Protecting Identity During Summer Travel: Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi to Make Purchase
A hacker can easily sit in a café, access the public network and monitor any devices connected to the establishment Wi-Fi. Don’t give these criminals an opportunity to see any information you send over the web by buying something on Amazon, views your bank account numbers, or even just logging in to an email account with your password. Skip Wi-Fi while traveling, unless you use a virtual private network (VPN). It’s also a good idea to set your device to forget the public network so it doesn’t log you in automatically the next time you go online.
Use a Password and Tracking to Protect Your Phone
If your phone is unprotected and is stolen or lost while you’re on vacation, a thief will be able to access your email, apps and other potentially sensitive information. To prevent this, protect your phone with a password. Consider downloading software to track your phone’s location if it goes missing.
Keep Your Passport, Money and Credit Cards Secure
Don’t make it easy for thieves to snatch your valuables. Secure your wallet in a zipped pocket. If you carry a purse, always keep it in front of you, so it’s more difficult to grab. There are also various anti-theft products to consider, like a radio-frequency identification (RFID) blocking pouch that can be tucked inside your clothes. Some credit cards, passports, and drivers licenses now come with RFID chips, which contain electronically-stored information. An RFID wallet or pouch can help prevent electronic pick-pocketing. Always remember to stay alert when you are traveling. Be aware of your surroundings and try not to be distracted. That’s when thieves look to strike.
Consider an Identity Protection Program
If you are concerned about your identity being stolen, you can purchase a protection service that will keep track of your financial accounts while you travel. Identity theft protection programs will provide web monitoring and credit reports, alert you to suspicious activity and provide identity theft insurance.
By taking precautions before you leave for your next vacation, you can keep you and your finances secure. Consider some of these tips while on holiday, and feel more confident against cyber security threats.
About Midland National
Midland National is one of the leading insurance companies in the U.S. Our proud history dates back more than 100 years when we were founded in 1906 under the name of Dakota Mutual Life Insurance Company. You can learn more about Midland National and keep up-to-date by following us on Twitter, @MidlandNatl