Protecting Your Identity

5 Ways to Keep Your Identity Safe When You Travel

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Some of the most common ways identity thieves steal personal information are more likely to happen when you are traveling. Check out these five travel-related identity theft tactics and what you can do to keep your identity safe when you travel.

1. Mail theft

One way thieves get personal information is to steal it right out of your mail box. Credit card invoices, bank statements and investment reports all contain account numbers that can be easily taken from a mailbox. Be sure to stop your mail, have someone else pick it up for you or start receiving all bills electronically.

2. Dumpster diving

Dumpster diving is when someone steals personal information from a dumpster or trash bin. When we travel it’s easy to pitch credit card receipts into a waste basket, but it’s essential to shred personal information when you throw it away. Make sure you tear up receipts or save them until you get home and can shred them.

3. Shoulder surfing

Take extra caution when you are checking in at a busy hotel, paying with a credit card at a popular restaurant, or using the ATM when others are around you. Especially while on vacation, stay aware of your surroundings and protect your information from anyone who may be watching you.

4. Card skimming

Anytime you use an ATM or other payment processing machine, be aware that criminals may have attached a “skimmer” – a curved plastic sheath over the card slot that reads the information on your debit or credit card when you swipe them. Often used in combination with a concealed camera, thieves can also record your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Protect yourself by checking nearby objects for possible concealed cameras such as a box holding brochures or a nearby light fixture. Also check the card slot for a skimmer device, and don’t use the machine if you suspect tampering.

5. Personal item theft

When traveling, take extra care to guard personal items such as a wallet or purse. Limit the number of credit cards you take with you and be aware of where you are at all times.

Once you return from vacation, carefully monitor your bank statements and credit card statements. If you believe your cards have been used or your information has been stolen, contact the financial institution right away.

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