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October 08 2014


How To Protect Your Identity While On Vacation

If you plan on taking a vacation in the upcoming travel season, there are a few precautions that you should take a head of time. With Thanksgiving being the most heavily traveled holiday of the year, as well as Christmas, most families will be leaving town. If your choosing to go on vacation, make sure to pay your bills ahead of time, lock up all your valuables, and set your alarm. Protecting your home while on vacation, is the standard thing to do, but have you ever thought about protecting your identity too?

Many people do not consider identity theft being something that happens while on vacation, but it's a very common occurrence. When you decide to go on vacation, if you get a daily or weekly paper, have a neighbor or someone pick them up. Having newspapers pile up in one place, let's burglars know you're away from home. If you know you'll be gone for a lengthy period of time, put a hold on your mail with the postal service. With a mail hold, identity thieves can't get any of your personal information while you're gone. 

It's a good idea to lock up your home and set an alarm, but sometimes this does not deter burglars from breaking into your home. Most homeowners carry insurance to protect their property against vandals, but this insurance will not cover against identity theft. If you leave identity cards or even credit cards at home while on vacation, you can become a victim of identity theft. If you happen to leave any credit cards or financial information behind, then you need to lock them up in a safe, if you have one, or a secure location. 

Don't leave any financial statements lying around, or paperwork with your Social Security Number on it. If you don't need the financial information left behind, then shred the paperwork before leaving or lock them in a secure location. Also make sure you don't throw out any financial information prior to going on vacation. If you must throw away any private documents, make sure to shred them first, as identity thieves may go through your garbage looking for this information. 

While you're on vacation, you still have to continue to protect your identity. If you carry a purse, keep it close to you at all times, or it's best to wear a purse that crosses over your body. For those who carry a wallet, it's best to keep it in a pocket that is hard to get in and out of, so it can't be slipped off of you, without you noticing. If you leave the hotel room, make sure to bring your identity cards, as well as your credit cards with you. By keeping your credit cards on you, it prevents anyone who may enter your hotel room unknowingly, from having access to them. 

If you're going out of state, or even out of country, it's best to contact your credit card company and bank, and let them know where you'll be using your cards. By telling your card companies where you'll be using your cards, they won't be blocked, and your spending habits can be monitored. If possible, try to use only one credit or debit card while on vacation, so you can easily track your spending. If you have several cards available, try to use as few as possible, and securely lock up the other cards you will need on your vacation. It's great to get away and have some fun on a vacation, but be sure to protect your identity while you're away as well. 

The best identity theft protection is a plan that you use everyday.  Being mindful of the information you're sharing and allowing out into the world is the first step in lowering the chances that you'll become a victim of identity theft.  
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