A missed flight or an unexpected illness can wreak havoc on the vacation you’ve spent the past months saving for and worked so hard to plan. Identify theft, though, is the worst case scenario when it comes to vacation disasters.
We’re going to tell you how to protect yourself from identity theft while on vacation, but first, a note. We’re not trying to scare you or make you feel like you should be worried that this is going to strike on your next getaway. It’s simply something to keep in mind as you travel as a precautionary measure.
With that being said, let’s go over some tips for protecting your identity to help your vacation go as smoothly as possible, leaving you free to enjoy it with complete peace of mind!
Protect Your Identity Online and IRL
Online and mobile banking services allow for ultimate convenience while traveling. You can check your account balances, manage your funds and even pay that bill you forget to send out before leaving.
However, you do want to be mindful about what you’re connecting to. While your bank’s system is locked tight against thieves, you want to be sure that you’re using a trusted Wifi network to access it. For example, don’t send any important information while using the public Wifi at the local coffee shop you found during your morning excursion. Instead, wait to get back to your hotel where the connection is likely more secure.
For more, learn to protect yourself online with these tips >>
Of course, you also want to protect yourself in real life, as well. One frequently-heard piece of advice for protecting your identity is to keep your passport in a safe place. When you’re on vacation, it’s not always easy to do this because often you need to travel with your passport on your person and keep IDs and credit cards handy.
There are steps you can take, though. Be mindful of your passport when you’re in a crowded area. Pickpockets take advantage of confused crowds and packed spaces, so make sure your documents are secure. Don’t leave passports and important documents in your room. If you do, consider keeping them in a locked suitcase.
Related: 10 Important Tips for ATM Safety
Let Your Bank and Your Credit Card Providers Know When You Travel
Before you travel overseas, you might want to call and check in with your credit care provider or bank. Both of those institutions have systems in place to protect you from identity theft whether you’re at home or abroad.
That means that if they see charges popping up in Mexico when just yesterday you were making purchases at an IGA in Ohio, it’s going to raise some flags. If you let them know ahead of time, it will mean a more seamless travel experience for you while also protecting your card from any suspicious transactions in other locations during your trip.
Keep Your Devices Safe from Identity Theft
It’s safe to use your smartphone, tablet and laptop while you’re on vacation. However, to protect your identity online while you travel, you may want to consider these two tips:
- Set a passcode on your phone in case it gets stolen or lost during your trip.
- Log out from any bank or credit card apps or accounts and remove any auto sign-ins you might have saved.
Check in on Your Finances While Traveling
Keep in mind that although you don’t want to stay signed in to your financial apps and accounts while on vacation, that doesn’t mean you can’t use them. In fact, it’s a good idea to check to see if there are any suspicious purchases on your account during your trip. You can also set alerts and notifications to help protect your identity while you travel.
When you bank with Mercer Savings, it’s easy to monitor your accounts with online and mobile banking services, including CardValet. CardValet lets you receive alerts on your smartphone when your card is used and restrict card use to a limited geographic area, among other things.
This is a great tool on vacation to keep an eye on your accounts. One quick sign in at the beginning of your day and after a few clicks to see that everything is in order, you’re out the door to enjoy your vacation.
Protect Your Home While You’re Gone
While you’re away, protect the homestead from identity theft by having someone bring your mail in to your house every day. This minimizes the risk of important documents with identifying information falling into the wrong hands.
Enjoy Your Vacation With Peace of Mind
After you’ve implemented these safety measures, you’ll be able to enjoy your vacation without worrying about fraud or theft. Again, this isn’t something that should cloud your dream vacation, but as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
For more safety tips, read our most recent articles.