While summer vacations are the perfect time to relax and unwind, it’s important to remain alert. Scammers and thieves always want to steal your identity, especially when they think you’re likely to let your guard down. Here are five easy ways to keep your identity secure during summer breaks.
Put Mail On Hold; Suspend Deliveries
Nothing says “no one’s home” quite like a pile of packages on a porch or an overstuffed mailbox. Fraudsters also love to swipe credit card offers from your mail. They’re a great way to unknowingly open a card in your name. Don’t let this happen! Go online to the USPS and put your mail on hold while you’re away. Suspend all package, newspaper, and magazine deliveries during that time as well.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi
If you need to access your financial accounts online while traveling, be sure to avoid using public Wi-Fi. It is not secure and it’s where online scammers will look first to lift your most sensitive information. If you know you’ll need to access your accounts while you’re away, install a virtual private network (VPN) on either your laptop and/or phone to protect against identity thieves.
Purchase A Privacy Filter
If you’ll need to do work or access sensitive information from a laptop or tablet during your holiday, then consider purchasing a privacy filter. It will make it impossible for others to read over your shoulder. While shopping online or doing work at a foreign café might seem like fun, it’s a prime spot for scammers. They may suspect you’re not paying close attention to what you’re typing across a very public screen.
Use An Insured Credit Card
Remember, most credit cards are insured in the event one is physically stolen, or if the information is swiped and fraudulent charges are made. Many also provide fraud monitoring. In most circumstances, fake charges are quickly removed from your account. This is not always the case with debit cards, where it can be difficult to quickly recover your money if a hacker is able to empty your account. Call your credit card issuer to review their insurance policies and see how you’re protected while traveling.
Rethink Social Media Posts
We know this tip won’t be popular with most people, but it’s worth repeating. Be careful about posting your vacation plans on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Unsecured and non-private accounts are open to the public and ripe for thieves who might be casing your home—to not only steal material things, but also to obtain very personal information.