Thursday, May 11, 2017

7 Tips for a Safe Summer Vacation

Scotland Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

It’s here! Summertime is upon us once again and it's time to start planning that long awaited summer vacation.

While you are planning to travel consider ways that you can keep your identity safe as well.

Don’t carry all of your cash and credit cards in the same place

Split them up and carry cash separate from credit cards and driver’s licenses separate from passports. If you fall victim to a robbery, the thieves won’t be able to take all of your financial holdings or identification.

If your passport or license is stolen report it to law enforcement immediately. Get a copy of the police report, keep it in a safe place and monitor your credit reports for fraudulent activity. As time goes on, you might also want to pull a background check on yourself and look for criminal charges.

Identity thieves not only look to steal from you financially, but are also willing to commit crimes using your identity. These crimes range from traffic tickets to theft to fraud or worse and correcting a false criminal records can take years!

Don’t post your travel information on social media

Even though we all like to share our adventures with friends and family, sharing vacation plans is a disastrous mistake.

Identity thieves look at social media 24 hours a day 7 days a week looking for people who publicly share their travel plans.You are giving a burglar an open invitation to break into your home and take whatever they like.

Oh...and thinking about posting a picture of your boarding pass? Better think again! The barcode or QR codes on the pass store all of your personal information including your birthdate, social security number and home address.

Infographic Courtesy of Javelin

Be careful with credit card purchases

Vacations mean explore new streets and with that comes street vendors. Whenever possible, only use cash or traveler’s checks when dealing with them. They may have the technology to steal your personal information through card skimming when you use a credit card to make a purchase.

If you are renting a car during your vacation, when you stop at the pump, do yourself a favor and pay for gas inside the store and not at the pump. Card skimmers are prevalent at outside gas pumps.  

Yes I know, going inside takes more time, but that extra five minutes will keep your identity safe and YOU ARE WORTH IT!

Don’t store items your back pockets

Don’t carry items in your back pockets. Streets and tourist attractions are full of people and there is always lots or shoving and bumping into people.

Carry your wallet and smartphone in your front pockets to avoid a pickpocket from taking them away from you. Don't set yourself up to be the victim of a crime! Think carefully before you adventure out into new surrounding and protect yourself and your family.

Don’t use public WiFi

Turn off the automatic wireless connectivity on your smartphone and verify the wireless network name with a hotel employee before you log in.

Thieves try to name wireless network as close to the name of a popular hotel or cafe as they can. Double-check before you connect!

Use VPN when you can and save online transactions such as banking and shopping for times when you can log onto a secure network.

Data Courtesy of  Javelin

Carry US Consulate information if you are traveling abroad

If you are traveling outside of the United States, research your travel destination to stay abreast of current laws and travel restrictions for the area. Also be aware of any necessary immunizations or active health alerts.

Carry contact information for the US Embassy. You can easily find the information on the website.

Washington Passport Agency Address
600 19th Street, N.W. First Floor, Sidewalk Level Washington, DC 20006

Report a Lost or Stolen Passport within the United States

Use Safe Secure Passwords and Passcodes

Always make sure to use secure passwords and passcodes for your digital devices. Passwords should always contain special characters and numbers.

Never use the same passwords for all of your accounts and don’t use passcodes that match your birthdate or anniversary. If you have trouble remembering passwords and need a better solution than the old standard “write it down and keep it in the desk drawer,” check out password management software such as:

Have a Safe & Happy Summer!

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