Protect Yourself From Identity Theft While Traveling
You've planned and booked your dream destination, and you have been daydreaming about relaxing on the beach with a good book, dining on local cuisine, and taking in the sights and sounds of your island escape. But don't get carried away just yet. First, there is some business we need to tend to before your next adventure.
Unfortunately, traveling and being out of your normal routine can leave you susceptible to crimes like identity theft.
Not taking steps to protect yourself can lead to many problems down the road, including financial loss and a lot of work to correct the consequences. Travel exposes you to thieves stealing personal information from your passport, your credit card, and even personal information from your computer.
But fear not, dear reader. Today, we will talk about some measures you can take to protect your sensitive information and reduce your risk of identity theft while traveling.
Taking these simple steps will allow you to travel with peace of mind knowing that your information is safe from thieves.
Protect your passport
Your passport is equipped with information that is read by RFID (or radio frequency identification). It is used to quickly scan your information (name, dob, and passport number) by passport control in airports. But it's not just passport control that can scan your information. Thieves with scanners can also collect your info if you're in close proximity to them. The cover of your passport does have RFID blocking technology, so when you are at the airport and going through passport control, don't open your passport until it's ready to be scanned.
Some additional steps to take to protect your passport:
Make a copy of your passport and leave the copy with a trusted friend or family member.
Take a picture of your passport and email it to yourself, so you'll have access to it electronically. Having a copy will make replacing your passport much easier in case you lose it.
Leave your passport in the hotel safe. Don't carry it with you while you're on vacation. (Just don't forget it there!)
Protect your money
Use your credit card instead of your debit card when you travel. Generally, you have more protection against fraudulent charges when you use your credit card. Just remember to let your bank know before you head out of town, so they know it's you renting the snorkel gear in Tahiti and not a thief! Speaking of RFID—it's a good idea to keep your credit cards in an RFID blocking case. Your cards are also equipped with RFID technology.
Store your money, credit cards, and passport in separate locations throughout your carry-on bag, a money belt, and different pockets. That way, if you lose your wallet, you haven't lost everything. Consider an RFID-blocking money belt as a place to store items like cash, an extra credit card, or a room key.
Use a VPN
Free public WiFi is dangerous. It's effortless for a hacker to read your personal data. When you use public WiFi, avoid logging in to your bank or any other site that uses personal information. If you must do business while you travel- use a VPN or virtual private network. Using a VPN will encrypt your data and protect your communications while you're online. As a bonus- you'll be able to access websites and apps like you would if you were home.
Here is one option to get you started: High-Speed, Secure & Anonymous VPN Service | ExpressVPN
Leave personal information at home
Don't take unnecessary items with you that contain personal information—name, address, social security number. Your vacation is not a time to catch up on bills. Do it before you leave! Some people (some weird people) may be tempted to catch up on paying bills or working on their vacation (super weird), but I say, don't do it! Leave the work at home! Better yet, carve out time to take care of it before you leave. That way, you don't even have to think about it when you're gone.
Protect your computer
Make sure your computer has a firewall and is password protected. If you aren't sure if your computer has the necessary security precautions, make it a point to stop by your local trusted computer store before your next trip to ask what they would recommend. If you leave your laptop in your hotel room- put it in the safe.
Even if you don't have a trip planned, doing these things now will ensure they don't get put aside when you're trying to pack, make pet sitting arrangements for the animals, and the hundred other things you have to do to prepare to leave town.
Ready to make your escape? Begin your journey today. Book a call with us to start planning your dream vacation!