The summer travel season is officially here. During the summer we all like to relax and unwind while traveling with our families and friends. While you are unwinding don’t be too careless about protecting your identity.
Travelers in unfamiliar locations are often targeted by pickpockets, aggressors and identity thieves. Even though you let your hair down its’ important not to let your guard down. To help protect yourself and your family consider these recommendations while you’re on vacation.
Set A Budget
Before you go away create a realistic budget. Ask yourself some questions about your upcoming expenditures. Will you be driving or flying? Will you be staying with friends or will you have to pay a hotel? How much will you be allocating towards your entertainment expenses? Remember, once your holiday is over reality will set in and your day-to-day bills will be staring you in the face.
Only carry credit cards you will need and definitely leave the rest at home. More importantly, leave your checkbook at home since credit cards are universally accepted. Rummage through your wallet and be sure to remove any card with sensitive information on it. It’s always a good idea to pack a debit card for withdrawing at reliable ATMS.
Avoid Skipping Payments
Make sure all your bills are getting paid while you are away. There is nothing worse than returning from an amazing holiday and discovering a shut off notice from your utility company because you forgot to pay your bill. By simply planning ahead and setting up automatic payments through your credit union.
Refrain form social media
Resist the urge to post all your plans and photos on Facebook and Instagram. You may be giving local thieves permission to break into your house or business. Post your pictures after you get home.
Protect Your Mail While Away
Make sure you place your mail on hold with the U.S. Postal Service while you are gone. Go to holdmail.usps.com to begin the hold. Why is it important to have your mail held? You don’t want identity thieves stealing mail from your mailbox and getting access to your sensitive information like credit card statements, checks, etc.
Protect Your Cash
Only carry as much cash as you are comfortable losing to a potential thief. Don’t carry all your cash in one place. Put some in your pocket, some in a money belt and maybe even your sock.
Suspend Your Subscriptions
Nothing screams we’re on vacation like a pile of uncollected newspapers in the driveway. If you can’t suspend your subscriptions then ask a neighbor to collect them while you are away. Again, you don’t want the thieves to realize you’re not home.
Set-up Cyber Security Alerts
It’s a great idea to set up alerts on all your credit cards and bank statements. You will receive a text or email every time your credit card is used, protecting you from fraudulent use.
Practice Internet Safety
While traveling inside the U.S. or abroad, always think twice about frequenting Internet Cafes to access your financial accounts online. While most businesses are legitimate and have a protected ISP, others may harbor hackers that would tap into your accounts and make you a victim of identity theft.
Lastly, Wear Sunscreen
In the long-term, sunscreen is less expensive than the medical treatment you may need because of over-exposure to the sun. And in the short-term, it can help avoid the pain of a sunburn so you can enjoy your hard-earned holiday!
Here’s to the happiest of travels!