Maybe you’re jettisoning off to a girl’s weekend, or a music festival. Or maybe you’re giving a huge presentation for a product launch, or just going to see the grandkids. Travel can be exciting.
But it also has some things to fear — like identity theft. From booking to dining and lodging, you’ll be giving your credit or debit card information in new places to a lot of different waiters, cashiers, etc. That can create opportunities for identity theft, but there are ways to protect yourself.
Before you leave
Exercising caution is a good way to let the good times roll while protecting your identity. And Equifax has some good ideas on where to start.
If you’re traveling internationally, protect your passport with a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)-blocking passport cover. This protects the chip in your passport, making it harder for thieves to scan your passport. It’s also recommended that you get an RFID-blocking cover for any credit and debit cards you may be bringing with you.
You should even make photocopies of your passports and IDs, in case they’re stolen or lost.
It’s also the little things that matter. Maybe take only one credit card for trips. Leave your social security card at home. Use cash at as many places as you can. Use a personal Verified Private Network (VPN) service instead of public Wi-Fi, if possible. If not, avoid using public Wi-Fi to do banking, shopping, or other online activities where they ask you to disclose private information.
What to do if disaster strikes
If your wallet is lost or stolen, Travel Agency Central recommends you call your credit, debit, medical, and driver’s license cards immediately. The quicker you act, the less damage thieves can do.
The site also says that you should immediately contact the three national credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, to place fraud alerts on your credit report. These alerts might prevent identity thieves from opening new accounts in your name.
For added security, it’s good to study your account statements to check for unauthorized purchases. If you suspect fraud, call the card or bank right away.
You should also order copies of your three credit reports — one each from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Check for any new credit accounts that might have been opened in your name without permission. You’re entitled to one free credit report each year from each of the three bureaus. You can order these three reports at www.annualcreditreport.com. If you notice suspicious activity on your report, contact the credit bureaus immediately-you don’t want thieves hurting your credit score.
It takes some effort to keep yourself protected when you travel, but that effort can save you a lot of hassle if something goes wrong. It can also give you peace of mind and allow you to enjoy your travel with less worry about possible problems. Please feel free to contact 1st Source Bank if you have any questions or need help with some of the steps addressed in this article.
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