Travel has become an essential part of everyday life for many, offering adventure, cultural experiences, and opportunities for personal growth. However, as we embark on these journeys, we must also be vigilant guardians of our personal information. Travel identity theft is a rising concern, with cybercriminals constantly devising new ways to exploit unsuspecting travelers. To help you safeguard your identity and travel worry-free, we put together 10 tips for travel identity theft protection. These essential and easy precautions empower you to explore the world with confidence, knowing that your personal information is secure.
Are Travelers More Susceptible to Identity Theft?
Yes, travelers can be more susceptible to identity theft due to several factors associated with the nature of travel. To minimize these risks, it is essential for travelers to take proactive steps in protecting their identity. This can be done by protecting travel documents, not using public Wi-Fi, securing devices properly, and taking other preventative measures to help ensure safety.
Travel Identity Theft Protection Tips
Listed below are the top-10 tips we believe can be beneficial to you and your safety.
1. Travel Light with Documents
Often, you only need to bring your driver’s license, credit and insurance cards, and potentially your passport, depending on where you are traveling to. When outside your hotel or staying accommodations, keep all other items in a safe or hidden area. Consider carrying only the essentials on a day-to-day basis, such as your ID and financial cards. It may be even beneficial to consider digital versions when possible.
2. Use RFID-Blocking Gear
RFID-blocking material uses carbon fiber or aluminum to disrupt the signal of other devices gaining access to your information, essentially creating a barrier. Invest in RFID-blocking wallets, passport holders, and bags to help prevent electronic pickpocketing and unauthorized access to your credit card and passport information.
3. Secure Digital Devices
Set up strong PINs, passwords, and biometric locks on your devices. Enable remote tracking and wiping features to help safeguard your data if your device is lost or stolen. These precautions can help you travel with confidence, knowing that your digital life remains protected. Keeping your devices updated can also easily help prevent criminals from accessing your information. This allows the latest security updates to be installed on your phone, enhancing your protection.
4. Beware of Public Wi-Fi
Travelers often depend on hotel, airport, and cafe Wi-Fi to conduct business, personal matters, or social scrolling while away from home. However, these networks can be less secure, which can make it easier for hackers to intercept personal information. It is best to avoid using public Wi-Fi networks when handling your sensitive information. Use a virtual private network, also known as a VPN, to encrypt your online communications and help protect against hackers.
5. Monitor Financial Accounts
Regularly review your bank and credit card statements for suspicious activity. Checking your credit report allows you to quickly find out if someone has applied for a new line of credit in your name. Sign up for IdentityIQ services to monitor your credit and personal information. IdentityIQ alerts you in real-time if they detect possible suspicious activity with your information.
6. Use Two-Factor Authentication
Enable two-factor authentication for your online accounts. Adding an extra layer of security by requiring a secondary verification method, such as a code sent to your phone, helps prevent hackers from gaining access easily. This is a highly effective and proactive method to help fortify your online identity against the threat of cyberattacks. It provides an essential safety net to help ensuring that your accounts remain secure even if your passwords become compromised.
7. Limit Social Media Sharing
Be cautious about sharing travel plans on social media. Oversharing can provide potential identity thieves with information about your location and absence from home. While social media sharing can be a fun outlet to share your travel experiences, it is crucial to limit what is shared to help protect your privacy and safety.
8. Avoid Public Computers
Refrain from using public computers for online banking or accessing sensitive accounts, as they might have malware or key loggers that can steal your information. You don’t know if they are installed with the latest security protocols, or who has used that computer before you. They may have compromised the security without anyone being aware.
9. Secure Physical Mail
If you are away for an extended period, have your mail held at the post office or ask a trusted neighbor to collect it. Mail theft can lead to identity theft. USPS can hold your mail for up to 30 days and keep your packages and letters secured until you are able to pick them up. USPS also offers mail forwarding, which is a great option if you expect to be gone for longer than the 30-day period.
10. Shred Documents
While it may seem unnecessary, shredding your travel-related documents, or any personal unneeded documents, should be an essential practice to incorporate. With our vastly digitized world, criminals can exploit even the smallest details of personal information. By properly disposing of travel-related documents, boarding passes, and receipts, dumpster divers are unable to access your information, minimizing potential threats.
Today our personal information is more vulnerable than ever, making safeguarding our identities, especially while traveling, a top priority. The tips we have provided for you give you a comprehensive guide to help navigate your travels with confidence and security. From enabling two-factor authentication to limiting social media sharing and investing in IdentityIQ to help ensure your personal information is safe, these methods are essential in the rising threat of identity theft. Adopting these precautionary measures, travelers can enjoy their adventures, knowing that their personal information remains secured from criminals.