Ways & How

How to Prevent Identity Theft While Traveling

How to Prevent Identity Theft While Traveling

Identity theft is an increasing problem today, especially because of the advanced technology and easy connectivity we enjoy in the 21st century. When you travel, you are more at risk of having thieves accessing your personal and financial data, possibly draining your bank accounts or using your credit cards while you innocently go about your vacation or business appointments. Traveling makes you more vulnerable because you are forced to use your credit cards in various commercial establishments that may be unreliable, use random ATMs to withdraw money, and use public computer terminals. To learn how to prevent identity theft while traveling, read the tips below to keep your accounts safe.

  • Do not bring all of your personal documents. Don’t bring along important documents like bank and credit card statements, social security cards, medical documents and other similar items. You most likely won’t ever need them.

  • Use public terminals and Wi-Fi connections with caution. This is one of the most challenging things to do while traveling.

    onnecting your laptop to an unsecured network may be a mistake you will regret if someone accesses your account and uses the information to steal from you. Anything you type into your laptop and any password you enter may be visible to people who prey on travelers and wait for an opportunity to rob someone. To help protect your information, make sure the website URL stars with HTTPS to assure a secure connection that encrypts your data so that it is difficult to see or access. Other ways to protect your data are browser plugins, such as “HTTPS everywhere,” or other products like “SurfEasy,” both of which help keep your personal data safe. At all costs, try to minimize or altogether avoid logging into sensitive accounts like your business or work e-mail and your bank accounts. If you are forced to use public terminals, like those in internet cafes, make sure to delete all cookies and browsing history after you log out of your accounts.

  • Secure your smartphone. A typical person stores a lot of data on his or her smartphone. From e-mails to photos, from passwords to personal information, any of this data may be used to steal from you when in the wrong hands. Smartphones are almost always logged into accounts at all times and contain backup information on itineraries and boarding passes, yet are sometimes just left lying around and easy to access. Mobile phones are among the easiest things to steal for thieves or leave behind by owners, and putting all that data at risk may end up in identity theft or some other loss. To prevent this, lock your home screen with a very complicated password or a unique swiping pattern. You may also opt for a fingerprint scan for increased security. Before traveling, log out of all apps and websites on your phone, and delete all cookies and passwords that may have been saved. Exercise caution as well when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks.

  • Avoid using generic ATMs. Identity thieves can easily access Generic ATMs, or those found in hotels or commercial establishments. They may have card readers or similar devices installed and thereby allow thieves to scan your card number and get a glimpse of your PIN. When you need to withdraw cash, use ATMs found in banks, as they are more guarded and not an easy target for thieves.

  • Follow up on your accounts. When you get home, call your bank or check your accounts for any suspicious activity. Also, check often overlooked accounts like medical claims, since some thieves may find this easier to access due to the slower updates of such accounts.

  • All in all, simply being cautious and attentive to details may help prevent situations that put you and your accounts in jeopardy. The guide above on how to prevent identity theft while traveling can prove helpful to anyone who intends to spend a significant amount of time away from home.


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