Be a Savvy Traveler
Travel can be great, but it can also make you extra vulnerable to identity theft. Here are some things you can do to lower risks.
REDUCE WHAT YOU CARRY. Before you leave, clean out your purse and/or wallet. Remove all unnecessary cards or items. Carry nothing with your Social Security number on it. Make note of which cards and documents you decide to carry in case of loss or theft.
TAKE CARE IN TOURIST AREAS. These are favorite payment card skimming spots as well as popular with purse snatchers.
AVOID USING PUBLIC OR SHARED COMPUTERS. They could have information-stealing software in place. If you must use one, avoid entering any personal information or logging onto online accounts.
AVOID TAKING YOUR CHECKBOOK. Your checks show your name, address, bank name, checking account number, and checking account routing number—a whole “kit” thieves can use to take over your account. They also can forge checks to withdraw money. When you don’t wish to use cash or payment cards, use traveler’s checks.
VERIFY CALLERS TO YOUR HOTEL ROOM. A common scam involves a call to your hotel room from a “desk clerk.” This person tells you about a problem that requires you to provide your credit card number over the phone. If this happens, hang up and call or visit front desk yourself to check.
DOWNSIZE DELIVERY DANGERS. Thieves slip made up fliers for fake food delivery services under hotel room doors, hoping you will call and order using your credit card. Check the reliability of all fliers with the desk clerk.
WATCH OUT WHEN USING WI-FI. Airports, hotels, and other public places offer Wi-Fi, or wireless network, for Internet access. A secure wireless network encrypts all the information you send using that network. However, Wi-Fi hotspots are often not secure. This means information you send through some websites or mobile apps can be accessed by other network users. If you choose to use public Wi-Fi, be very cautious.