The holiday season is probably one of the busiest for the majority of us, for many reasons. Add any holiday travel plans into the mix and stress levels can begin to rise. With stricter security guidelines and long lines, it’s easy to focus merely on making it to your destination. However, this time of year is also busy for thieves who will often seize opportunities when the unsuspecting victim is distracted or otherwise unaware of his or her surroundings. Stay vigilant this year when traveling for the holidays by using the tips below, and ensure your holidays stay as they should, merry and bright!
Before you leave:
Put your mail on hold with the post office until you return and halt any newspaper deliveries.
Remove any unnecessary cards from your wallet or purse. Carry only the credit and debit cards you will need while vacationing and leave your checkbook at home. And remember, your social security card should never be in your wallet; keep it in a locked and secure place at all times.
Make photocopies of all of your travel documents (passport, identification, airline tickets, etc.) and carry them separate from the originals. Include a list of phone numbers for your financial institutions and credit card companies so you’ll know contact information if your cards are lost or stolen
Do not post your travel plans online on any social networking forums or sites.
Never leave your valuables or wallet in your car.
Don’t use your phone’s Bluetooth in the airport or other crowded public place. Cell phone hacking is easy if you’re using a Bluetooth set to “discoverable” mode. A hacker can pair with your device, steal information, send emails, or even install a virus on your phone. Be sure your phone’s “discoverable” option is not selected and keep any sensitive information stored on your phone encrypted.
If traveling with your laptop, practice good security measures. Don’t put your laptop on the security conveyor at the airport until the last minute and watch it like a hawk to ensure no one walks off with it. Better yet, if traveling with a companion, have one person go through first and then load your own valuables after he/she is through so they can keep an eye on them. Also, be careful when logging on to free public internet services at the airport. As your computer sniffs out the public connections available, you could inadvertently jump onto a “lure” internet link where hackers are waiting for access to your computer. Find out the name of the airport’s public internet link so you will recognize it when your laptop finds it and ensure safe surfing.
If your wallet or purse is lost or stolen, contact your credit card companies immediately to cancel your cards and dispute any fraudulent charges that have already occurred. File a police report and obtain a copy if possible. If traveling internationally, go the nearest US Consulate for passport replacement. Arrive extra early for your return flight to allow time for security delays if you’ll be flying home without identification.
Remain aware of your surroundings. Tourists stand out as targets for thieves. Exercise caution when choosing a taxi cab; look for car number and taxi company name marked on the outside of the car, registration and driver information card on inside dashboard.
As always, if you suspect identity theft or misuse of your personally identifying information during your holiday travels, call ID Experts and let them help!