Traveling This Holiday Season? Don’t Forget to Protect Your Identity

Identity theft worries putting a damper on your holiday travel plans?  Follow these simple steps to keep safe this holiday season.

With the holiday season in full swing, travelers all over are making their plans to visit families, take a much-needed vacation, and enjoy some R&R.  With travel comes the worry of identity theft, but it’s possible to travel safely and enjoy the holiday season with these travel identity protection and theft prevention tips.

Before you hit the road…

Take the proper precautions to keep your house safe while you are away.  Your best course of action is to make your home look like it’s still lived in while you’re not there.  Get a trustworthy house sitter, and always lock away valuables. One idea is to rely on a safety deposit box for those hard-to-replace items, because they will be under lock and key. Also consider freezing your credit, as this blocks access to your credit report and score, preventing identity thieves from opening new accounts in your name.

Before you start packing…

Withdraw as much cash as you feel safe carrying.  Put valuables or personal documents in carry-on luggage.  Make two copies of your passport, driver’s license, and credit card.  Take one set with you and leave one with a friend or relative who you can call in an emergency.  Create a list of account numbers, credit limits, and customer service phone numbers for your credit cards.  Bring it with you so you’ll know who to contact if your wallet or purse is stolen.  Conversely, carrying unnecessary documents, such as your social security card could put you at serious risk if lost or stolen.  Leave your checkbook, library card, and other cards that display your name and address at home, preferably locked up.

While en route…

On the road, don’t just use cash.  Use credit cards instead of debit cards.  Never access personal information, especially bank accounts, from public computers or public hotspots.  The same features that make free hotspots desirable for consumers make them desirable for hackers; namely, that it requires no authentication to establish a network connection.  This creates an amazing opportunity for the hacker to get unfettered access to unsecured devices on the same network.  Stick to ATMs located in actual banks instead of gas stations or convenience stores.

Back home?  Take these steps to keep yourself safe after traveling.

Check your credit card and bank statements to review your purchases.  Travel documents shouldn’t be thrown in the trash.  These contain sensitive information that, when in the wrong hands, can wreak havoc on your identity and credit report.  Keep these documents for your next shredding visit and let Legal Shred destroy them safely and securely.

Take travel identity protection seriously.  Continue to keep tabs on your credit file in the months after you travel so you can catch any signs of identity theft that may appear.

Happy travels and Happy Holidays from all of us at Legal Shred!

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