Millions of Americans travel by car, train, bus and plane to spend the holidays with family – or to enjoy a holiday away from home in a longed-for destination. It’s a busy time of year, and with all the cheer and goodwill in the air, it’s easy to drop your guard during holidays. But, it’s important to remain vigilant about identity protection while traveling, because identity thieves love the season just as much as the rest of us.
Before you leave home, take steps to ensure it and all your belongings remain secure. Stop newspaper and mail delivery so that accumulating paper doesn’t signal that you’re not home, and to ensure that nothing can be stolen from your mailbox. Put lights on timers so it looks like you’re home in the evenings. Set your alarm and make sure a trusted neighbor knows where you are and how to contact you in case of emergency.
On the road, carry only the identification materials that you need. For example, while you’ll need a passport to travel abroad, it’s not necessary for domestic travel. And, your Social Security card never needs to travel with you; it should always be secured in a strong box, safe or safety deposit box. Likewise, only carry the one or two credit cards you’ll need for your trip.
When staying in hotels, take advantage of hotel safes to store important documents, jewelry and cash. Don’t access any personal, social media or financial accounts over the hotel’s unsecured WiFi network, and never post on social media exactly where you are when you travel.
When you get home, review your financial accounts, including bank and credit card statements, and keep an eye on your credit report. Signs of fraud and identity theft often first show up on your credit report and financial statements.
Taking extra precautions during holiday travel can help ensure the season stays bright for you – and not for identity thieves.
This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.
Published by permission from ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. © 2013 ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. All rights reserved.