Identity Security: Staying Safe on Vacation.

It’s that time of year when many of us are planning vacations with our family and friends.  Whether traveling within the US or abroad there are a few things to keep in mind to help safeguard your identity and protect yourself from needless stress.

One key way to safeguard yourself is to remove all non-essential information from your purse or wallet.  Only carry the IDs and credit/debit cards you will need for the trip.  Also, never carry your social security card with you.  Once you have determined which cards and information are necessary, make copies of this information and store it where someone you trust can access it should your purse or wallet get stolen.  Consider keeping your cards in an RFID sleeve or wallet.

Also, make sure to contact your credit card companies and banking institutions prior to your trip to inform them of your itinerary.  This will ensure you don’t have declines when you use your card and also will alert them to any charges made in other areas.

Watch out for pickpockets.  If you carry a purse or messenger bag, make sure it is a cross-body type and strap it across your torso. Men might consider carrying their wallets in a front pocket.

Also remember to halt your mail service at home.  You can do this online or by sending a small “hold mail” request to the post office. Even unsolicited credit card offers can be stolen from a mailbox and used to get cards in your name.

Use secure Internet connections.  Using public WI-FI in hotels or other places  is sometimes unavoidable, but it is not a good idea to use these connections to do any financial activities.  If you must use public computers, using incognito mode is always a better option.  Remember to log out when you are done.  Adding a VPN ( Virtual Private Network) to your phones and laptops is important as well.  This ensures an extra layer of encryption.

When using ATM’s, it’s always safer to use one that is inside a bank lobby or other well monitored location.  If you must use an ATM or credit card machine at a less secure location, check your balances regularly for any suspicious activity.

Lastly, keep your phone secured.  Most smartphones have options to remotely factory reset your phone, it’s important to make sure these options are turned on.  Using a password or fingerprint to secure your phone is important as well. It also helps to turn off the automated password fills for sensitive information like banking apps.

These are just a few ideas to help you enjoy a safe and secure vacation.