Thwarting identity theft means not letting your guard down on vacation
BY KIMBERLY LANKFORD Ask Kim
Sunday, July 22, 2012
7/22/12 at 3:51 AM
I'm going on vacation next week. What should I do to protect myself from identity theft while I'm gone?
It can be easy to let down your guard while you're away. Here are six ways to protect yourself against ID theft while on vacation this summer:
Original Print Headline: Don't let down your guard on vacation
- Notify your bank and credit card company that you'll be traveling. Financial institutions have become a lot more vigilant about watching for suspicious activity and may put a hold on your account if they can't get in touch with you. Also be sure to provide updated contact information, including your cellphone number.
- Be careful about what you throw away in hotel trash cans. Papers such as your airline boarding pass, flight itinerary and car-rental receipts could include your driver's license number, address, name, credit card number and other personal information. Shred the papers or take them home with you.
- Don't conduct financial business on a public Wi-Fi. Use a private network, a protected network at a hotel, or 3G or 4G on your smartphone or iPad. If you do use a hotel network, make sure that it really belongs to the hotel. And don't announce on Facebook or other social-networking sites that you are traveling.
- Avoid stand-alone ATMs. Thieves have been known to install software that records your bank-account information and PIN number (called skimming). Stick with bank ATMs because the security is likely to be better.
- Watch your wallet. Take out all unneeded credit cards and personal information from your wallet before you leave home. Make copies of all of your important documents, such as your passport, driver's license, health insurance card and travel tickets, so you'll have access to the information if your wallet is stolen.
Kimberly Lankford is a contributing editor to Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. To send her a question or comment, go to tulsaworld.com/kiplingerfeedback.