Travelling abroad can be a great adventure, but unfortunately may bring with it a variety of risks. Identity theft is on the rise around the world, and tourists are often a main target due to amount of ID they need to keep with them or their luggage.
To help you consider how you might cope with the ramifications of identity theft abroad we have put together the following questionnaire. Answer “yes” or “no” to each question. Total your answers and match the number of “yes” answers to the explanations at the end to determine if you could cope with identity theft while abroad.
- Do you leave copies of your passport at home when you travel?
- Do you travel with contact information for your financial institutions?
- Do you travel with contact information for relevant consulates and embassies?
- Do you keep a list of your credit card and/or bank accounts in a safe location at home?
- Do you keep credit card receipts with you as you travel?
- Do you shred personal or financial information while you travel?
- Do you travel with your mobile or email access in case institutions need to contact you?
- If you must provide personal details while travelling, do you do so from a private location?
- Do you carry more than one photo identification with you as you travel?
- Do you check financial accounts from secure locations (computer, telephone) as you travel?
- Would you contact institutions to freeze your accounts should you need to while you travel?
- Would you contact relevant legal authorities should discover identity theft while abroad?
“Yes” to between zero and four questions
If you answered “yes” to between zero and four questions then you would not likely cope well with identity theft abroad. Preparing for a worst case scenario requires thinking through all of the ways in which things could go wrong, and what you could do to make things easier for yourself. Take precautions like leaving copies of documents at home, travelling with different means of identification and using common sense. British embassies and consulates will always help citizens in trouble abroad, so don’t forget to bring details of those in case you need them.
“Yes” to between five and eight questions
If you answered “yes” to between five and eight questions then you might cope well with identity theft abroad. You use common sense precautions before travelling and have some idea of what you would need to do should you become the victim of identity theft. It sounds like there’s more you can do protect yourself however; at the very least update your home files with current copies of ID, travel and financial documents and take a list of contact numbers along with you.
“Yes” to nine or more questions
If you answered “yes” to nine or more questions then you would likely cope well with identity theft abroad. You know how to prepare for such an eventuality and what steps to take immediately following an incident. As long as you prepare diligently prior to each trip, and remember to stay calm and focused, you should be just fine. But remember, it can take months or even years to deal with all of the consequences of a case of identity theft, particularly one involving more than one country, so don’t become too frustrated if everything is not neatly wrapped up before you continue your travels.