How to protect your identity while on vacation

Summer travel season has scammers working overtime

It’s the Summer travel season and many are looking for great deals, but you should also keep an eye out for people trying to steal you identity.

People take a summer vacation so they can relax, maybe explore a place they’ve never seen. But that trip can make you a prime target for scammers.

Because of the nature of travel you need to carry sensitive documents with you, things like passports and credit cards. But those valuables make you more vulnerable.

The first piece of advice to stay safe is to protect information. Don’t write your full name and address on luggage tags, just a last name and phone number works. Don’t leave boarding passes behind on airplanes or in hotels… they could contain names and other personal information.

Obviously, protect your passport and ID’s. When you are staying in a hotel, lock up your valuable documents in the hotel safe.

One of the best ways to protect yourself is not to bring too many valuable cards or documents in the first place. “Many people have five, six, seven different credit cards in their wallet,” said Dave Friedman from Friendman Hobbit Travel, “but when they’re traveling they probably only have one that they are going to use, they probably cleared that credit card maybe paid it in advance and then use it specifically for travel, so leave the other three, four, five at home.”

You might want one extra card as a back up.

Some people might avoid using a credit card by using cash, but not all ATM’s can be trusted. It’s recommended you only use the machines located in banks. “There are fake ATM machines, people go on travel they need some cash, they go to what they think is a safe, secure ATM machine, what’s actually inside the ATM machine is a card reader that pulls not only the card but the PIN information and then they have now access to your bank account,” said Friedman.

It’s also important to protect technology. Create a password for you phone so it can’t be accessed if stolen and if possible, leave your laptop at home. If you bring it, avoid accessing your bank accounts using a WiFi hot spot, hackers can use them to easily steal information.

Having someone collect your mail at home can keep from tipping off people that you are a potential target, but social media can tip off identity thieves as well. Announcing your travel plans lets thieves know you are away from home.

When you post a comment or picture during vacation, turn off the locator so people don’t know where you posted from.