You’ve booked your hotel, made dinner reservations and packed your bags. But have you taken the right precautions to protect your identity while traveling?
The Federal Trade Commission received 4.7 million reports of fraud and identity theft in 2020. Follow these 10 steps to ensure your vacation doesn’t cost you.
Before Your Trip
Alert Your Banks
Notify your financial institutions of your upcoming trip; they’ll want to know exactly when and where you’re going. If someone buys gas at home while you’re supposed to be in Italy, your bank or credit card provider will know something’s awry.
Request a Mail Hold
An overflowing mailbox can tip off thieves that you’re out of town. The U.S. Postal Service can hold your mail for up to 30 days — keeping your documents and your identity safe.
Pay Your Bills Early
The last thing you want is to log into your bank account to pay a bill on a questionable Wi-Fi network. Schedule those payments in advance, and you’ll have one less thing to worry about on vacation.
Hire a House-sitter
Avoid leaving your home completely unattended; a dark, empty house might invite burglars. Ask a family member or friend to stay at your place for a few days to ward off any unwanted attention. Or, have a neighbor to check in on your home while you’re away.
While on Vacation
Use a VPN
Casually surfing the web at a coffee shop could mean trouble. Consider using a virtual private network (VPN), which protects your data, like usernames, passwords and more. This is one of the best ways to protect your identity online.
Stick With Bank ATMs
Do your best to avoid that suspect-looking ATM at the bar — it may skim your data. Identify the nearest bank to your hotel or rental so you can get cash quickly and safely.
Lock up Anything Important
If your hotel has a safe, use it. Store extra cash, your passport and any photocopies of identifying information (which are always a good idea when traveling!).
After Your Return
Change Your Passwords
Did you need to access some work files or sign into your email while away? It’s best to change your password just to be safe. These tips can help you create a strong password to protect it from hackers.
Check Your Statements
Now that you’re home and back on your own secure network, inspect your transactions for anything out of the ordinary. If something looks questionable, contact your bank or credit card provider immediately.
Set up Identify Theft Coverage
Don’t wait until you have an identity theft scare. Talk to your local Farm Bureau agent today about Identity Services and Fraud Expense Coverage. This program helps you protect your identity by minimizing your risk, monitoring your exposure and resolving any issues with a dedicated fraud expert.