Relaxing on sunny beaches under clear skies with your family or significant other may be what you’re looking forward to most this year. To finally get some down time does wonders for the spirit, so the worst thing that can happen is an incident of identity theft spoils it all. To reduce the chances of that happening follow a few simple tips:
Don’t Carry More Credit Than Necessary
Limit the amount of credit cards you travel with to reduce your identity theft risk. It’s good to be prepared and carry an extra credit card for emergencies, especially if you are traveling in a foreign country, but carrying more than two cards can make you more vulnerable if your wallet or purse is lost or stolen.
The same is true of personal identifying information, such as your driver’s license or Social Security card. If you're traveling abroad, you should either keep the latter with you at all times, or, store it in your hotel room safe. A crook who gets a hold of your passport may be able to run amok with your finances.
Pay With Cash
Making the bulk of your souvenir purchases with cash will limit your exposure to criminals or scammers scoping out tourists and travelers carrying credit cards. Withdraw money from an ATM before going on your trip, and make sure you keep these resources separate from your credit cards in the event your money is stolen.
If you withdraw cash from an ATM, don’t forget to inspect the machine for tampering or skimming devices, which are installed by criminals and designed to read your debit card information for identity theft purposes.
Keep Your Credit Card Company in the Loop
Contact your credit card issuers before you leave for vacation to let them know you will be traveling. Lenders who see your credit card being used in a far-away location may assume a criminal has stolen your information to commit identity theft, which will prompt them to freeze your accounts.
Keeping your issuer abreast of your travel plans will also make it easier to report fraud or cancel credit cards if they are stolen during your trip.