Traveling is always an exhilarating and captivating experience, whether you're taking a cruise in Caribbean turquoise seas, searching for an unforgettable experience in South Asia, surfing off the white-sand coasts of Australia and New Zealand or just exploring the museums and cafes of magnificent European capitals. The chance to explore new places, broaden your horizons and create unforgettable memories is one of the greatest things in life.
Unless, of course, you've been the victim of identity theft. The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) estimates that in 2015, there were 781 tracked data breaches in the US alone, which is said to be one of the highest numbers recorded since 2005. Moreover, more than 17 million Americans became victims of identity theft in 2014. These events could leave you with unpleasant memories about your whole trip.
Travel advisors always suggest monitoring your digital footprint before, during and after your trip. Also, your travel agent could help you if you do get into an identity theft situation. But of course, it is better to take care of everything before you get into trouble. Here are a few tips for travelers to keep their identity secure while away and ensure their trip goes smoothly:
1. Make sure your bank is aware of your travel plans
If the bank sees suspicious activity on your accounts it might freeze your cards, and activity such as international transactions could trigger a red flag. So it is better to let your bank know that you are going abroad.
2. Clean out your wallet
Take out any receipts and expired cards, and anything else that you absolutely don't need to carry during your trip.
3. Try to use public WI-FI less.
Public WI-FI is extremely useful. However, remember the key word PUBLIC. While your private mobile Internet gives you almost 100% security, the public one cannot always provide that as long as everyone else has connection to it. So, try not to access your financial accounts or other websites which need passwords when using public Wi-Fi.
4. Choose cash or credit cards over debit cards.
Everyone knows that it can be dangerous to carry large amounts of cash, while paying with cards can also be dangerous, as some merchants still use suspicious transaction processes. Overall, credit cards that have built-in security features are probably the safest to use. So we suggest making a choice in favor of credit card, not debit, when you can.
5. Use ATMs carefully
Inspect the machine carefully before inserting your card and always shield the keypad when entering your PIN to thwart fraudsters who attach card skimmers to the machine or watch your movements. The safest ATMs are attached to banks in well-lit areas.
6. Change your PINs and passwords after a trip.
This is especially important if you logged into any accounts while on the road or accessed an ATM.
7. Check your credit card along with bank statements.
Do this as often as you can. Check all the payments and make sure all your money is accounted for.
8. Be sure your credit report is accurate.
According to federal law, major credit bureaus must provide you with a free credit report once a year upon your request. Make sure you that all your payments are right and you remember all the transactions. If something seems wrong, check it carefully.
9. Insert a password on your phone
Be sure that your phone is password-protected so no one could use it if it's taken.
10. Be sure that you have all your confirmation emails and boarding passes.
Shred them before throwing them out into the recycling bin, as they have personal information.
Identity protection efforts provide peace of mind-and that's what travel is supposed to bring to our lives.
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