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July 1, 2019 Fraud Prevention Joshua Williams

6 Tips To Keep Your Identity Safe While Traveling

Near or far, for business or pleasure, traveling is inevitable. Keep your identity safe by following these six tips.

1. Notify Your Financial Institution

By placing a travel notification with your financial institution it allows them to notate your account of where you are going and when. That way when out of the ordinary transactions start popping up on your account they aren’t flagged as suspicious resulting in locked credit and/or debit cards. Locking down your cards is meant as a safety precaution but can easily become an inconvenience if they are legitimate purchases.

2. Get a House Sitter

Pets or no pets at home you should have a trusted friend or family member stop by your house or apartment when going on an extended trip. They can bring in your mail, turn the heat on in the winter to avoid pipes freezing, and turn on your lights at night which can deter possible burglars. Give yourself peace of mind when traveling so that you can concentrate on enjoying your adventure.

3. Leave Your Checkbook at Home

A checkbook has your account number listed as well as other personal information like your address. Use credit cards while traveling either domestic or abroad. If a card is lost it can be canceled immediately and refunds can be issued much easier. Bring multiple forms of payment like cash, credit card, and foreign currency if you are traveling out of the country.

4. Pause Your Mail

Bills won’t stop collecting in your mailbox just because you are on vacation. Mail theft is one of the many ways a criminal can obtain your information and steal your identity. Your bills and bank statements can contain important billing and payment information. Pause your mail or sign up for digital billing. Utilities as well as credit cards and financial institutions typically offer online payment methods and electronic statements.

5. Rethink Social Media

There’s nothing more enticing to a burglar than seeing on social media that you will be gone for the next week and your home left vacant. We aren’t saying you can’t tell your friends and family but if you must post something on social media keep the dates off of the post. If you have a public account look into making it private so that only your closest friends and family can view your posts while you are on vacation. This is a situation where having a house sitter either stay at your house or make regular visits can come in handy. This will keep up the illusion that you are still at home and can confuse potential criminals as to when you will be back. Think back on the scene in the movie Home Alone with the cardboard cutout of Michael Jordan cruising around on a model train set to make it look like there is a party at the house—the criminals were scared off because it looked like there was life in the house!

6. Determine What Needs Safe Keeping

All hotel rooms have in-room safes. Utilize your hotel safe if you are traveling with sensitive identification like passport, birth certificate or social security card etc. when traveling abroad or domestically. You will also want to keep any devices and money or payment methods like credit or debit cards in the safe when they aren’t in use. For instance, if you plan a day trip and don’t need to bring your iPad or entire wallet or purse, secure them in the safe before you leave. Make copies of all identification as well as credit and debit cards before you leave. Give one copy to a trusted friend or family member and keep the other copy safe with you in case you lose something and need to reference the information to cancel.

Safe travels!