You are having the time of your life in Italy and then the unthinkable hits. You get a call from your credit card company saying someone is pretending to be you, charging up hundreds or thousands of dollars. You wonder how this could have happened. So many travelers have their identity stolen while abroad, whether it is through unauthorized credit card usage or the swiping of a passport. If you don’t want to be a victim of identity theft on your next trip abroad, here are four high and low tech tips to follow to make sure you are the only one looking at your bank account or using your passport.
Don’t Do Your Banking or Make Purchases on Shared Wi-Fi Connections: One of the easiest ways to hand a crook your identity is by merely buying something on an unsecure connection or logging on to your banking site on an open Wi-Fi connection. For travelers, it is best to do harmless browsing on open connections. If you are using a public computer abroad, you will want to clear the cache and delete cookies once you are finished. Cookies are storing quite a bit of your information on these computers. If you forgot to log off Facebook, you won’t have to worry someone can gain access to your identity if you have deleted the cookies on the browser.
Keep a Password on Your Phone: When you travel abroad, your phone might be your go-to source to check your banking, social networks and emails. Cellphones tend to have so much of our personal information on them that they could easily get a thief our identity if it was stolen. In order to protect your identity and your phone while you travel, be sure to delete apps that might have a great deal of personal information on them such as banking apps or even social network apps. It is also best to keep a password on your phone so that if it is stolen, you won’t have to worry about someone gaining access to your emails, social networks and even banking information.
Carry a RFID Blocking Wallet: Radio frequency identification technology, known as RFID, is used on a number of important documents and cards you might have. A new travel scam involves thieves with RFID readers getting close to your wallet to steal all of your information stored in RFID chips. These scammers are stealing identities through wallets and clothing in some cases. To avoid this travel scam and to protect your identity, you can invest in an RFID Blocking wallet, which makes it difficult for these scammers to grab your information.
Unpack Your Wallet Before Your Trip: Many people carry around important documents and cards in their wallet. When you travel abroad, you might just pack your wallet without removing any cards. You don’t want to be traveling with your Social Security card or your checkbook when you travel. Also it is a good idea to do some credit card weeding. If you don’t need it, don’t bring it. It might be low tech advise, but the more cards and documents you bring, the more likely your identity could be stolen with the swipe of your wallet.