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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection | article

Keep Your Passport Safe While on Spring Break

Looking forward to spring break? This is a time of year when students are getting a brief respite from studying hard all winter and are, theoretically, resting up before finals have them pulling all-nighters in the study hall. Most college students, however, spend spring break doing the opposite of resting, instead choosing to party into the wee hours of the morning in exotic locales with fellow youths.

While spring break can be one of the most fun experiences you will enjoy while attending college, identity theft certainly isn't. Should a criminal get a hold of your personal information while you are away on break, it could have long-term repercussions that have the potential to derail your college education — not to mention ruin your credit score.

Pack light if you are traveling by jet
Thousands of students every year decide to spend their spring break traveling. Standing in line at baggage claim comes before partying for most who do. If you decide to take to the skies before arriving at your vacation destination, make sure you do all you can to help protect your personal identification information while you're en route.

For example, you shouldn't bring any documentation with you that isn't completely necessary. Your birth certificate and Social Security card, for instance, almost never need to travel with you but should instead be locked up safely at home. However, exotic locales such as Cancun are extremely popular areas for students to spend their spring break, for example, and you can't get there without the proper documentation. So one document that you may need to bring with you is your passport if you plan on traveling to a foreign country.

Keep your passport on you at all times
A passport has on it information an identity thief can use to open up accounts in your name. As well, if someone is looking to enter the country illegally, they could potentially use your passport as a means of entry should they get a hold of it while you are abroad, leaving you stranded.

Always keep your passport with you when traveling to a different country, especially on spring break, when crowds at many hot spots can be crowded and confusing, making you even more vulnerable for identity theft. Credit monitoring can help keep an eye on your finances for you while you are out partying.