Identity theft is a crime on the rise, a crime to which many tourists find themselves victim. Tourists are on vacation to relax which is great but not when the result is a carefree attitude that results in the theft of personal information. Identity theft, besides ruining a vacation, can lead to serious problems that can take a long time to rectify.
#1 Notify Your Credit Card Company
Let your credit card provider know where you will be traveling and how long you will be gone. This will help them to know what charges are yours and which ones may be fraudulent. This will also prevent your cards from being frozen by the company when you are traveling.
#2 Put a Hold on Your Mail
A mailbox full of bills and bank statements is a perfect target for identity thieves. Stop by your post office and fill out a form to have your mail held. At the very least, ask a neighbor to pick up your mail daily.
#3 Only Bring What You Need
Pickpockets naturally gravitate towards tourist locations full of hustle and bustle so that they will not be easily noticed. Therefore, only take the identification and payment options you need. It is recommended that you take two cards, one to keep in a safe at the hotel and one in your wallet. Do not carry your checkbook and never carry your Social Security card with you under any circumstances. If it is necessary to bring more personal information, bring a photocopy instead of the original.
#4 Consider Freezing Your Credit Temporarily
A credit freeze does not prevent you from utilizing your credit cards but it does mean that no one else can open up a credit card account under your name. This can allow you to breathe a little easier during your trip. Freezing your credit isn’t a simple process and requires you to notify Trans-Union, Experian, and Equifax-the three major credit bureaus. You may also be required to pay a fee for the service. Because of this, it may only be worth it for longer periods of travel.
#5 Be Wary of Hotel Computers and Fraudulent Front Desk Attendants
Never access your financial and personal information from a hotel or other public computer. Public WiFi networks are the perfect opportunity for hackers to pilfer your information.
You should also be wary of phone calls to your room from the front desk. Some ID thieves will call to ask for your credit information saying that they require it on behalf of the hotel. If this happens, say that you will come down to the front desk yourself instead of providing information over the phone.
#6 Use Bank ATMs
If you have to bring your debit card with you on vacation, make all of your cash withdrawals from a bank ATM if possible. ATMs in bank lobbies typically have higher security and are also covered by surveillance that makes them less susceptible to identity thieves.