Summer Identity Theft

Personal Banking

July 27, 2016

We are right in the heart of summer and that means summer vacation plans are in full swing.  You may have your map laid out, tickets booked, and swimsuits packed but are you taking the necessary steps to make sure your identity stays safe during your travels?  Summer is one of the most common seasons for identity hackers to capitalize on your vulnerability while traveling.  In order to make your summer vacations as enjoyable as you have planned there are a few steps you should follow to prevent identity theft this summer.

  1. Don’t share your travel plans on social media.  With social media being so prevalent in today’s society, it is hard to resist bragging about that week long beach vacation you are about to depart on.  Once you do however, you let hackers know that you will have an empty household for an entire week, which leaves your home and accounts more easily accessible.  Let a trusted neighbor know you are gone so they can look after your house and wait until you get back to start sharing your photos.
  2. It is important to not use an unsecure Internet connection.  Free and public Wi-Fi is easy to hack, putting your personal information and passwords at risk.  If you need to access online banking, user names or password-protected accounts use your cellular data when available to ensure you are not putting your secure information at risk to identity thieves.
  3. Leave important documents at home.  Take only what is absolutely necessary and leave the additional credit cards or documents such as your social security card at home.  This also helps protect you from losing only minimal information just in case your wallet is compromised.  If your wallet is lost or stolen, make sure to contact your credit card company as soon as possible to alert them of fraud and identify theft.
  4. Book your travel with a credit card not with your debit card.  Credit card companies are on the lookout daily for fraudulent charges and are better equip to handle hackers and identify theft than your local bank.  Make sure you alert your credit card company of your travel plans so they don’t mistakenly freeze your account during your stay.
  5. Make sure your electronics such as your phone, computer, and tablet are all password-protected and have privacy screens intact.   This will help reduce the chance of identity theft when using your devices in public areas or in case they become lost or misplaced during your summer travels.

Taking simple steps to ensure your personal information is protected will allow you to enjoy time spent with family and friends and not worry about identity theft and fraud this summer.  Happy travels!