Hit the Road without Worries: 5 Essential Steps to Protect Your Identity While Traveling

13 November 2015

Whether making a trip to join friends or loved ones for the holiday festivities or hopping on a plane in search of warmer weather, many Canadians travel during the holiday season. Visits and vacations are part of what makes this the most wonderful time of the year, but traveling could put you at risk of identity theft, which would surely put a damper on your holiday spirit. To help keep your personal information safe while you get away this winter, consider these traveling tips:

  • Only pack the essential documents: When packing for your trip, you may be tempted to bring extra documents just in case. While you might think you are playing it safe by having backups, you are in fact only putting yourself at greater risk of having your information compromised. Only bring the essentials: your driver’s license, credit and debit cards, insurance cards and a passport (depending on where you’re going). Once you’ve arrived, take the same approach to deciding which documents to carry on you. Whenever you can, leave extraneous documents in the hotel safe instead of keeping them on your person.
  • Steer clear of public wi-fi: When away from home, you leave the security of your private wi-fi network behind. While you will be able to find free public wi-fi at most coffee shops and hotels, they are unable to protect your browsing session from prying eyes also logged into their network. Feel free to take advantage of the free connectivity to do some casual browsing, but avoid signing into sensitive accounts or making any purchases via an unprotected network.
  • Check your statements: Identity thieves often target travelers because they are less likely to look for or catch fraud while away from home. If you can find a secure internet connection, use it to keep an eye on your bank or credit card statements while you’re away.
  • Hold your mail: Before you leave, request that the post office and newspaper provider hold their deliveries until you get back. Otherwise, newspapers could accumulate on your doorstep or your mailbox could fill up, both indications to burglars that no one is home. Even if you’re not going to be gone long enough for your mail to build up, having it sit in your mailbox unattended for a few days leaves you vulnerable to ID thieves looking to swipe credit card or billing information without even having to enter your home.
  • Don’t over-share on social media: While it can be tempting to post photos or update your friends on social media as you travel, your posts can serve as announcements to anyone looking online that you’re not home. To be safe, wait until you’re home to upload photos.

While taking the above actions can go a long way in reducing your risk of identity theft, unfortunately there is no surefire way to prevent it. Signing up for a credit monitoringservice can help you detect fraud through notifications of certain activity on your credit report that could indicate fraud. To get started, contact Identity Guard today.