Are you one of the millions of Americans ready to hit the road or board a plane for a quick getaway or a weeklong vacation? So are identity thieves.
They’ve formed more creative ways to steal personal information in record numbers from people working, learning, and shopping from home throughout the pandemic. Whether selling data on the dark web or creating fake accounts, identity thieves are going places with other people’s data.
Wherever you go (even if that’s home), always practice these habits to protect your identity:
Before Your Trip
- Clear your wallet or your purse. Only carry what you need for the trip, such as your driver’s license, passport, and essential credit and debit cards.
- Notify your financial providers about your trip so they won’t decline your card for suspected fraudulent activity.
- Check your credit report. This will help you spot suspicious changes when you return.
- Hold your mail. The U.S. Postal Service can hold your mail for up to 30 days. It also offers Informed Delivery, which scans your mail and emails you a PDF. When you return, you can check for missing items.
- Pay your bills to avoid exposing sensitive personal information online while traveling.
During Your Trip
- Avoid public Wi-Fi; it’s easy to hack. If you must use it, don’t share any sensitive personal information while on the network.
- Safeguard your boarding pass. Boarding passes reveal a lot of personal information, including your full name and travel destination. Use mobile tickets when possible, but if you use paper, upon landing, rip it into pieces or store it safely until you get home.
- Secure important documents. Store your passport and other important documents in your hotel safe. For added security, take a picture of passports and credit card details for all travel companions in case wallets are lost or stolen.
- Avoid remote ATMs. Such devices may have skimmers attached or cameras that can capture your withdrawal data.
- Don’t overshare on social media. Wait until you return to post your memories. Don’t advertise that you’re away; it alerts fraudsters.
After Your Return
- Check your bank and credit card accounts for unexpected changes.
- Change your passwords, especially if you accessed important accounts on public internet while away.
In The Air, On The Road or At Home
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1. 2019 Identity Fraud Study, Javelin Strategy & Research
Article provided by Experian.