Top 10 Ways to Help Prevent ID Theft During Vacation
Written by: Gray Whitten | Wed, 22 May 2013 19:13:05 +0000
As summer nears, many people start dreaming about and planning vacation getaways. But while you're enjoying the beach, identity thieves are devising new ways to steal your personal information. Consumers often let their guards down on vacation, putting them at greater risk of identity theft.
In an effort to curb the growing problem of identity theft, Equifax shares the top 10 ways consumers can help protect themselves while traveling:
1. Don't announce your travel plans on social media. This invites identity thieves to target your house while you're away.
2. Place a hold on your mail. When criminals see an overflowing mailbox, they see an easy way to steal personal information.
3. Go through your wallet and leave at home your library card and other cards with your name on them. Carry only necessities in your wallet when traveling. Tourist areas are hotspots for pickpockets.
4. Set up a travel alert on your credit card accounts, and set up a fraud alert on your credit file with the three credit bureaus.
5. Leave your laptop computer at home if you can. If you must travel with a laptop, update your anti-virus and anti-spyware programs. Do not access bank accounts from your laptop while in a hotel room or at a coffee shop or other public location.
6. While staying at a hotel, lock important documents such as your passport in a safe.
7. Use only ATMs located in banks.
8. Protect your smartphone. Create a password for access, and use an application with a GPS locator to find your phone if it is lost or stolen.
9. Don't put your full name and address on luggage tags. Include just your last name and phone number.
10. Tear up and discard used boarding passes. Many travelers leave boarding passes behind in airplanes or hotels. They often contain full names and other personal information.
"Everyone loves a relaxing vacation, but this is not the time to let your guard down about identity theft," said Trey Loughran, president of the Personal Solutions unit at Equifax. "By developing good identity protection habits at home and on the road, you can reduce your risk of becoming a victim."
What is identity theft? How do criminals use your personal information against you? Find out here.