How to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft During Summer Vacations
Now that summer is here, and kids are getting out of school for the summer, many families will be going on vacation. This is certainly one of the most fun times of the year for many families, but it’s also a time when people are worried about the possibility of identity theft. Identity theft seems to be of particular concern for those who are traveling abroad.
Unfortunately, identity theft is increasingly common, and thieves are very clever. However, there are some things you can do on a trip to avoid having your identity stolen. Additionally, there are steps you can take to try and limit the damage if you think you might be a victim of identity theft.
Reducing the Risk of Identity Theft
Here are a few tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of identity theft on your vacation.
- Avoid carrying more than necessary. Don’t carry personal information you don’t need. This means not taking along any debit or credit cards you aren’t going to use on the trip. Then once you arrive, leave any extra credit cards, your passport, additional IDs, as well as a majority of your cash in the hotel room safe.
- Try not to stand out. You could make yourself a target if you wear clothing that makes you look like a tourist. So, it can be best to wear clothing that is similar to what the locals wear.
- Don’t use public WiFi. You will decrease the chances of your identity being stolen if you stick to using your cellular data or private, password-protected WiFi while on your trip.
Responding To Identity Theft
If all of your efforts fail and you find yourself a victim of identity theft, there are some steps you might want to take, such as:
- Contact local law enforcement. You should notify local law enforcement of the theft. Make sure to get a copy of the report, as the bank may request a copy before reimbursing you for any money that was stolen.
- Notify your financial institutions. You’ll want to notify any bank or financial institutions of the theft, so they can cancel any cards or freeze any accounts involved, if necessary.
- Contact the major credit bureaus. You should notify the major credit bureaus of the theft. You might want to have them freeze your credit so that the thief will not be able to open any more accounts in your name. Additionally, the credit bureaus may be able to help decrease any effect the theft may have on your credit score.
- Run a self background check. You might also want to run a self background check to make sure your identity was not used for criminal purposes.
These are just some of the ways to avoid identity theft and to respond to it if you believe you are a victim of identity theft. It is particularly important to apply these precautions while on summer vacation as your information will be spread to more unfamiliar locations, and you are unlikely to be paying as much attention. If you are a victim of identity theft, remember that it is crucial to act quickly to minimize damage.
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