More smart travel tips! These shared with us by guest journalist, Meghan Keane. Identity theft is on everyone’s minds these days, and with good reason. Meghan offers some sage advice on how to travel with peace of mind, and identity intact!
When you travel, you become much more susceptible to identity theft. While connecting your computer to a public WiFi network to make a purchase, check your bank account or check your email anyone can hack into your account and steal your credit card number while you pay for your hotel room or flight and steal your identity. Regardless of how it happens, identity theft usually has the same results: stolen money, bad credit scores and a long, intensive legal battle in attempt to repair the damage. To avoid this nightmare, you can use many safeguarding options, like Lifelock to avoid identity theft before it starts. Below are five of the best strategies you can use to protect your identity while you travel.
1. Deflecting potential thieves
Many identity thieves use online exchanges to glean valuable information, such as your credit card or social security number. To prevent such thieves from having the opportunity, make sure that your firewall is always engaged when you log on to public WiFi networks. For extra protection, you should also keep your malware and virus protection active whenever you travel.
2. Use strong passwords
Never use a password that an identity thief could easily guess. Make sure that all of your passwords are at least eight characters long and include numbers, symbols and capital letters whenever possible. In addition, use different passwords for each site and change them often.
3. Guard your smartphone
Smartphones are more than just phones. They hold a wealth of sensitive, personal information that identity thieves can use to do serious damage. Keep your phone with you at all times when you travel. Don’t leave it in hotel rooms, on tables or in other locations where a thief could swipe it.
4. Purchase identity protection services
If you travel frequently, it’s wise to purchase identity theft protection. Certain companies, such as Lifelock, will protect you against credit fraud and alert you when your personal information is used to open new accounts. If you are a victim of identity theft while you are paying for coverage, these companies will also help you resolve the problem.
5. Pay your bills before you leave
One of the most dangerous things you can do is to use transfer your credit information over a public WiFi network. However, if a bill is due while you are traveling, you may not have a choice. To prevent such problems, pay all of your upcoming bills before you leave. Even if you will be making payments early, it will be well worth it if it helps you avoid identity theft.
In the worst of cases, identity theft can ruin your credit score and wipe out your life savings. At its best, identity theft will still be a hassle that takes up your time and causes you a great deal of anxiety while you try to resolve it. For this reason, it’s essential that you take measures to prevent identity theft, especially when you are traveling. By using the strategies mentioned here, and tapping into the services that are offered by theft prevention companies, like Lifelock, you can greatly reduce the chances of a security breach in your life.
Meghan Keane received her degree in International Communication and now studies abroad any chance she gets. Most recently, she visited Tokyo.