Travel can make you especially vulnerable to identity theft. Regardless of where you’re visiting, you’ll likely be carrying more valuables with you than usual. It’s crucial to prepare ahead of time and do what you can to prevent identity theft while traveling abroad.
Stolen wallets frequently lead to identity theft, so consider using travel pouches rather than carrying your wallet in a pocket or having it easily accessible in your bag. Travel pouches will also prevent you from accidentally leaving your wallet in a vulnerable place. Keeping secure information out of sight will prevent identity thieves from capturing your personal financial details. If you go to a restaurant and pay with a card, make sure the card remains in your sight at all times. Also, keep a copy of your receipts. Leave check books at home in a locked safe or drawer.
Always protect your smartphone with complex passwords or passcodes. It’s an easy step that can make or break your online security. If possible, turn Bluetooth off as an added security measure. Install applications that allow you to GPS-track or disable your phone in case it’s lost or stolen. Secure your home Wi-Fi and be aware that many free Wi-Fi networks at cafes, hotels, and public places are not secure. Avoid entering private information such as bank account numbers or logins on public computers. Never autosave information or passwords and clear your search history after use. If possible, open a private browsing window that won’t save passwords, history, or cookies.
Preparing to Travel
There are some important steps to take before you leave — to start, lock up any valuable information at home. Put your mail on postal hold and arrange for mail to be picked up only by you at the post office when you return. If you’re taking a flight, don’t put any items that contain your card numbers or financial institution account numbers in checked luggage. If you’re making payments on the plane or at the airport, make sure other travelers can’t view your card information. Once you arrive at your destination, keep all valuables locked up in your hotel room safe, including laptops, passports and other documents that contain personal or financial information.
Remember, while these steps are simple on their own, used in combination they can create a valuable safety net when you’re traveling abroad. Put them into practice not just for yourself but also for your family members, and you can spend your time enjoying your trip without having to worry about becoming a victim of identity theft.