How To Protect Your Identity While Travelling | Refresh Financial

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How To Protect Your Identity, Credit and Money While Travelling

beachIt’s true that your risk of identity theft increases when you travel. It can be even more of a risk depending on where you go. That shouldn’t be a reason to avoid travelling, though. There are lots of measures you can take to ensure your identity makes it through a trip abroad unscathed. Here are 11 ways to protect your identity while you travel:

1. Set up credit monitoring before you go

Equifax, TransUnion, and other organizations offer many different types of credit monitoring that also help you protect your identity. You will get alerts when something seems strange on your credit report, as well as when anything significant changes on it. If something that seems suspicious appears in your name, you’re going to be able to catch it right away and minimize any damage done.

2. Purchase identity theft protection prior to leaving

Equifax and TransUnion also offer identity theft protection. Some packages include credit monitoring and access to your credit report, as well as and identity theft protection and it’s usually no more than $30/month. You wouldn’t leave the country without medical insurance, so don’t leave without protecting yourself from identity theft, either!

3. Keep your money in different places

Don’t keep all your cash in your wallet. Perhaps split it up between your wallet and your partner’s and maybe leave some back in the safe at the hotel. That way, if you get robbed, you won’t have all your cash taken.

4. Leave unnecessary ID at home

Most people carry their social insurance number around in their wallet, or their birth certificate or student ID, transit pass, etc. Leave all that stuff at home, and protect your identity. You won’t need it abroad since you have your passport and it makes things a lot easier if you lose your wallet or have it stolen.

5. Opt into and hang onto ATM receipts

When taking out money from an ATM on vacation, ensure you request a receipt and you hang onto those receipts. In some countries, the networks are slow and buggy and you can end up not getting all or any of the money you requested, though your bank statement will say you did. It’s easily rectified with most banks if you hang onto your receipts, though. Reduce your risk further by sticking to ATM machines from banks you recognize. HSBC is one you can often find in most countries.

6. Don’t make it publicly known where you are

Posting public information or photos of your whereabouts can help identity thieves accumulate information on you. Instead, wait to post your beautiful vacation pics until you get home.

7. Screen all public wifi networks you log into

Shared networks are a hotbed for those trying to hack your information. Avoid them when you can, and ensure that the ones you do join are password protected and the official wifi networks of the establishments you are visiting.

8. Make use of your hotel room’s safe

If you have the option to get a hotel room with a safe, do so. Use the safe, even if it costs extra dough. It could save you exponentially more money that it could ever cost to rent. Hotel employees are not immune to committing theft and if they get your hands on your wallet, your extra cash or your ID, you could be in real trouble. Lock it up, instead.

9. Avoid using shared devices in Internet cafes, hotel lobbies, etc

Sometimes, when we’re on vacation without our cell phone data on and without having brought our own computers, we tend to make use of public devices in places like internet cafes. The problem is, it’s relatively easy to pop a keystroke recorder on a computer and capture everything you’re typing, including passwords. Try to avoid this. Instead, keep your cell phone data off but use your hotel’s wifi in the evenings to check your email on your smartphone. If you absolutely have to use a computer in an internet cafe, ensure you logout of everything you used, erase your browser history, and change your passwords when you get home.

10. Keep your eye on your credit card activity

Log into your credit card statement as often as you can to keep a lookout for things you don’t recognize.The sooner you catch and report fraud, the less painful it will be for you.

11. Change your passwords

When you get home from your trip, change your passwords to all your important accounts, just in case.

And if you do happen to experience identity theft, we've got the steps you need to take right here.

Have you ever experienced a theft or fraud while on vacation? Let us know how you protect your identity now in the comments!

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