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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection The Resource Center | article

Going On Spring Break? Protect Your Identity While Traveling

Protect your identity while you're enjoying a relaxing spring vacation.

Protect your identity while you’re enjoying a relaxing spring vacation.

Getting ready to head for the sun for Spring Break? You’re not alone! But, while you’re busy soaking up some rays, just make sure that identity thieves aren’t occupied stealing your personal information.

Here are some tips for keeping your identity secure even while traveling:

  • After a trip, change your passwords: Identity Guard® suggests changing your online passwords every three to six months, and returning home from vacation is the perfect time to do so. Some identity thieves wait to use the information they’ve gained until weeks or months later, so changing your passwords immediately could prevent theft.
  • Call your credit card company: Let your credit card companies and bank know that you’re traveling so they won’t put a freeze on your account when they see charges from an unfamiliar location.
  • Check your bank statements: Whenever you have access to a secure internet connection, check your online bank account statements for irregularities. One reason criminals tend to victimize travelers is because many people don’t check their statements until they return home. The sooner you catch identity theft, however, the easier it can be to resolve.
  • Delete the cookies from public devices: If you use a public computer in the hotel lobby, take care to delete the cookies and browser history you’ve accumulated before you leave. Most public computers do this automatically, but it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry.
  • Don’t spread word about your trip: Try not to post about your trip on social media before or while you’re away. Thieves keep an eye out for people who are vacating their houses and leaving their personal things vulnerable.
  • Don’t use stand-alone ATMS: Identity thieves sometimes install card readers into stand-alone ATMS in hotels and convenience stores, so it’s always best to use ATMS that are located in banks.
  • Keep your identifying information close: Don’t leave personal documents in your hotel room, because you don’t know exactly who might gain entrance. Stowing your license or passport in a money belt when you go out is a much safer option.
  • Leave your documents at home: Of course, you will need some documents when you travel, like your driver’s license or passport. Leave your Social Security card, bank statements, medical documents and checkbook locked in a personal safe at home.
  • Put your mail on hold: Call the post office and ask them to put a vacation hold on your mail for the time you’ll be gone. This way, criminals won’t be able to tell you’re away or steal important correspondence like credit card applications or bank statements.
  • Secure your smartphone: Institute a password for your mobile device, so thieves won’t be able to access it should it get stolen. Also, log out of any apps that have you automatically logged in, especially banking and social media apps.
  • Use your personal email: If you must email while on vacation, then doing so from your personal account is preferable to accessing your work email while traveling. This way damage won’t be done to your career if someone is able to hack into your account.
  • Watch what you access through public WiFi: When using the public WiFi network in your hotel room or at a cafe, make sure you don’t access any sensitive information. Refrain from logging into your email, checking your bank statement or typing your Social Security or credit card number.

Take these precautions against identity theft so you can enjoy a restful and rejuvenating vacation in the sun.