IDSeal Traveling Blog
How ID Theft Can Happen While Traveling and Tips to Prevent It
Spring Break. Family Vacation. Solo Wanderlust. Local Stay-cation. No matter what type of break you take, we all need to get away from the busyness of everyday life, every once in a while. Besides packing your toothbrush or passport, there’s another thing you should not forget to bring on your next trip: tips to prevent identity theft.
How Travel Identity Theft Can Happen
By definition, travel means to “move, typically in a constant or predictable way.” Well, the one thing many travelers don’t plan for that can hit like a tropical island downpour is identity theft.
Location, Location, Location
Identity theft can happen before you even leave home. While it’s common to want to share the news about your trek to a yoga retreat or long-saved-for-dream vacation, there can be unintended consequences when announcing your plans, especially on social media. Sure, your friends and family will appreciate your itinerary, but so will potential thieves. If criminals visit while you’re traveling, they can target your mailbox, car, or even your home to steal personal information they can use to commit fraud in your name.
New Neighborhood, New Target
Since identity theft happens when you’re in an unfamiliar area, thieves can take advantage of you because they are almost guaranteed never to see you again. This situation makes stealing personal information through methods like wallet-lifting and purse-snatching popular and expected. That’s why it’s essential only to take the key documents you need, especially when out and about in a new area – whether abroad or close to home.
Travel Buddy: Tips to Minimize Your Risk of Identity Theft
Tip #1: But First, Arrangements. The first step to prevent identity theft while traveling is to book your trip through a legitimate source. Fair warning: getting a too-good-to-be-true deal could be the start of an ordeal to undo identity theft. When making arrangements, check online reviews before clicking “Book Now.” If the travel site is fake, you could unknowingly give your credit card, home address, and travel dates to fraudsters. Also, if you plan activities on the site, you may end up with more free time than you bargained for instead of new experiences.
Tip #2: Pack Lightly. Limit the number of cards and personal information you carry with you, leaving less for pickpockets to potentially steal. Try to bring your debit card and only one travel rewards credit card with benefits, such as lost luggage reimbursement and no foreign transaction fees. Finally, don’t forget to let your financial institutions know in advance that you’ll be out of town, to prevent transactions from being rejected.
Tip #3: Don’t Leave Home Without IDSeal. With a comprehensive identity protection product like IDSeal, you will have a plan if your identity is stolen while traveling. With powerful features like lost wallet protection, IDSeal will reissue your lost or stolen cards with a simple call to our Customer Care center. Pro Tip: Adding your card numbers to your IDSeal profile before you depart will make your recovery process easier and less stressful.
Tip #4: Hold Your Snail Mail. The U.S. Postal Service will hold your mail for up to 30 days. Before you head out of town, set up a mail hold, so if somebody tries to target your mailbox, which can overflow depending on how long you’re away, there won’t be anything to steal.
Tip #5: Share Responsibly. Again, it’s normal to want to share your plans, but limit promoting them to protect yourself. We’ve all heard a horror story or two of people shipping off for their honeymoon while gifts are being shipped to their home, only to return and find they’ve been stolen. If you want to post vacation pictures, do it once your trip is complete. The same goes for your family, even children.
Tip #6: Take Care of Digital Details. If your phone or laptop is stolen while you’re away, the last layer of defense is your password. Make sure your passwords are unique and not easy to crack. While away, check your bank accounts and credit card statements online to make sure fraudsters haven’t captured your account numbers while you shopped. Finally, don’t use public Wi-Fi to access your bank accounts or other sensitive sites without a VPN. Thieves often set up “listening posts” on public Wi-Fi hotspots to capture personal information from unwitting travelers. If you need to check your accounts, use the international data plan on your phone instead.
Tip #7: Stand Out – With Your Luggage. Put an easy-to-spot marker on your luggage to quickly identify it on the carousel. Stand at the front to prevent other travelers from taking it by mistake or thieves grabbing it before you get the chance. Keep your bag tag sparse: only include critical information needed for somebody to contact you, but not enough to know where you live or any other personal information.
Adding identity theft prevention practices to your travel plans can help you return home without having to deal with the hassle of identity theft. Another way to feel confident about your next trip is to sign up for IDSeal. With IDSeal, you can live confidently knowing that if your identity is stolen when you travel, you won’t go down the road to recovery alone.
To learn more about IDSeal, visit https://www.idseal.com/#how-it-works