Prevent Identity Theft While on Vacation

  • Avoid Public WiFi
  • Be Wary of Phone Scams
  • Contact the Bank
  • Travel Light
  • Pause Mail Delivery

When planning an upcoming vacation, tourists might worry about where to stay and how to travel, but they should also know how to protect against identity theft during travel. Identity theft can lead to a thief taking out loans in a person’s name and ruining his or her credit without the person knowing it. There are some basic things travelers can do to keep their identity safe while on vacation.

1. Avoid Public WiFi

Many businesses now offer free WiFi, including both restaurants and shops. Tourists should avoid using those networks though because they aren’t always safe. Scammers can use the networks to steal private information from your laptop, phone or any other device that they use. They can gain access to a bank account and any other confidential information saved to that device. Travelers should stick to wireless connections that require a password such as the one offered by a hotel or resort.

2. Be Wary of Phone Scams

A common travel scam takes the form of a phone call. A traveler might get a call in a hotel room from someone who claims to work at the front desk. The caller will say there is a problem with your payment method and ask them to repeat their credit card numbers over the phone. That individual will then use that information to wrack up bills on the card. If a tourist receives this type of call, he or she can hang up immediately and head down to the front desk. If there is actually a problem, they can handle it in person.

3. Contact the Bank

Travelers often worry about telling others when they leave town, but they should take a few minutes to contact their banks. Telling the bank that the traveler is out of town for a few days or longer does several things. It lets the bank know that it can and should monitor any accounts for unusual activity, including large charges that come out of nowhere. This may stop the bank from freezing an account when the individual makes several purchases in a new town too. It’s also helpful to contact credit card companies before heading out of town.

4. Travel Light

Many people think that they need to carry all their important documents with them when they travel in case of an emergency. The more documents and information they carry through, the more chances there are of scammers stealing their identities. An easy way to protect against identity theft during travel is with a clean and streamlined wallet. Tourists do not need to take their social security cards, all their credit and bank cards, and other personal information.

5. Pause Mail Delivery

According to Kimberly Lankford of Kiplinger, one way to prevent identity theft while on vacation is through the post office. She recommends pausing or turning off mail delivery during a trip. This keeps a home from becoming vulnerable to thieves because it stops mail from piling up and making the house look empty. It also keeps confidential documents and information from appearing in the mailbox, which thieves can use to steal identities.

Traveling is a great way to have fun and escape from work and other commitments for a few days or longer. Tourists today need to realize that those trips leave them vulnerable to threats though. They can use five simple steps to protect against identity theft every time that they leave on another vacation.