Safe Summer Travel: Tips to Secure Your Financial Information
As many of us re-emerge from more than a year of isolation and look ahead to summer travel, safety is top of mind. Gearing up for a long-awaited family vacation includes packing, planning an itinerary, and booking a place to stay. Travelers should add one more item to that list: securing your financial information.
Bank fraud and identity theft can happen on a large, global scale, but it can also happen to individuals, especially when traveling across states and internationally. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, the most common types of fraud include credit card, bank, and loan fraud. Fraud prevention and awareness will help keep your identity and your money safe.
The good news: Simple strategies can help safeguard your information and identity when traveling.
- CHECK IN WITH YOUR BANK. Banks may deny charges that look suspicious in an attempt to protect you. Be sure to let your bank know when and where you’ll be travelling, so they are aware that you may be spending more than you do in a typical week.
- TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR PHONE. Staying connected, even on vacation, is a must for most people. While the public charging ports at airports are convenient, resist the urge to use them. A newer form of identity theft called “juice jacking” allows thieves to transfer your information via USB charging ports. Instead, consider the following:
- Bring a portable charging device.
- Use a regular AC plug outlet with your own plug and charging cord.
- Bring your own car charger (if you know you’ll be getting a rental car or using a family vehicle).
- STAY PRESENT. Often during travel, things like reading signage, looking for a map, or finding a restroom steal our attention. In these cases, it’s easy for someone to “accidentally” bump into us and swipe whatever’s in reach. Keep valuables safe and secure within inside pockets, front-carried pouches or even in your shoes.
OPT FOR HIDDEN MODE. Bluetooth allows information transfer, so it’s the perfect gateway for an identity thief. While you are in public places, such as an airport or train station, make sure your Bluetooth is not set to “discoverable”. This means potential thieves are unable to “pair” with your device and steal your information.
Above all, trust your instincts. If something doesn’t look right, then take your time to ensure that it is safe before proceeding with any transactions. Monitor you bank statements and check your balance daily through your mobile app. Always know how much money you have so missing funds are easy to spot. Catching identity theft quickly is the key to fraud detection and minimizing any damage to your finances and credit.
These tips are important year-round, and particularly as we venture out this summer. Safe – and secure – travels!
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