Experian, the credit monitoring company conducted a survey and here are some shocking results and what you can do to protect yourself from identity theft whether you’re traveling or not. In 2016 more than 15 million people were victims of identity theft (up 16percent from the prior year) and 33 percent of that fraud took place while people were traveling!
No one really realizes the time and energy it takes to recover from identity fraud. Fifty-five percent of people victimized by identity theft while traveling said it took from weeks to more than a year to resolve issues related to identity fraud the survey found. Do you have that amount of time and resources to spend on financial recovery? Here’s what to do at home and when traveling to protect your good name, credit, and money no matter where you are.
Here’s some of the most common information that people unknowingly make available online, through social media, shopping sites, banks and more. The more information about you is out there the easier a target you are for thieves.
The following tips are the most important to follow when it comes to protecting your identity when traveling.
1. Plan Ahead for Physical Theft
Before your go copy or photograph both sides of your credit cards, driver’s license, medical insurance, and passport, so if they are stolen or lost you know who to call and your account numbers. Keep the copies separate from your cards and safeguard them in your hotel room safe. When out secure them in an RFID blocking travel organizer.
2. Password-Protect Your Phone and Enable Tracking
You store sensitive information like email passwords and possible credit card information on it make sure your password is strong. Consider enabling tracking in case of theft or loss and if you really have sensitive information and photos on your phone look into installing a wiping software so you track and destroy the data. One suggestion make sure you have a backup of your data.
3. Avoid Public WIFI
It’s tempting to rationalize using free WIFi for even just a few minutes to check your banking or credit cards. Hotels provide free Wifi but don’t use it for personal transactions. Your alternative is to set up your WIFI hotspot with a portable router. You’ll need a SiM data card which you purchase at your destination. Look for an electronic store or airport kiosk.
4. Stop Your Mail While Traveling
Stop your mail while traveling, so thieves can’t take bills, credit card statements, or tax bills to retrieve your financial information and use it to commit fraud. You can stop your mail by going online at www.usps.com.
5. Take Only the Cards and IDs You Really Need
Leave all but two credit cards at home. Take only your driver’s license and passport if going to a foreign country. Everything should be kept safely at home. Use an RFID blocking travel wallet to help protect your identity.