Six Ways to Keep Your Identity Secure While Traveling
There is nothing that kills a post-vacation buzz faster than realizing your identity has been stolen. According to an online survey by the Harris Poll, over 15 million Americans experienced identity theft in 2017, with a total loss of over $16 billion. Going on vacation or traveling can leave you at a high risk for identity theft – you may be unfamiliar with your surroundings, in a more relaxed state of mind and your spending habits can vary greatly from normal. Luckily, there are a few easy ways to protect yourself from identity theft and get some R&R the next time you are on vacation.
Before you leave for the airport, pare down your wallet to only the essentials. Taking only one or two credit cards minimizes the chances of getting your personal information stolen. It also means you’ll have fewer cards to keep track of. Leave your Social Security card at home, too.
Sign up for fraud alerts
Signing up for debit card alerts is an easy way to stop identity thieves in their tracks. Get alerted via email or text message if there is suspicious activity in your account, such as large purchases or transactions in which your card is not present. Debit card alerts are available on Greater Alliance Federal Credit Union debit cards.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
While sightseeing may be a major part of your itinerary, being unfamiliar with your surroundings may lead to making some questionable decisions with your personal information. If you need to use an ATM, try to find one located in a bank or another secure area and be sure to shield your PIN from potential prying eyes.
Convenience is Not Always Key
Although convenient, public Wi-Fi networks and computers are not your friend while traveling. Do not send banking or personal information over public Wi-Fi networks or use public computers for anything that requires your password, even checking your email. Save the online banking and bill pay for a secure network, or better yet, set up recurring payments so you can relax while on vacation.
Use Prepaid Cards
Utilizing prepaid Visa cards while on vacation can save you a lot of headaches in the future. Prepaid Visa cards are a convenient, secure way to spend while you’re traveling. Load up the card and take comfort in knowing that your spending is not attached to your checking or savings account. These reloadable cards can be used worldwide, and you can add up to two secondary cards per account, perfect for traveling with teenagers who want to sightsee on their own.
No matter how many precautions you take, things happen. Being prepared for the worst can save you from stress later and help you protect your information faster. Store copies of credits cards, passports and other personal information with a trusted friend or family member back home in case of emergency. This quick access to credit card numbers and other information can help your bank secure your accounts faster.