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How Holiday Travel Can Pose Identity Theft Risks

 

Nearly one hundred million Americans are planning to travel this holiday season. It’s likely that many of them are not aware of some of the risks for identity theft they are exposed to as they travel. Here are a few to keep in mind if you’re hitting the road!

 

  • Did you know that your boarding pass contains personal information? It does. So before you toss it in the hotel wastebasket, think twice. Take it home with you and shred it as you would any document that contains personally identifiable information.

  • Electronic hotel keys very often contain personally identifiable information as well, including your credit card information. So take good card of that key throughout your stay, and return it to the front desk when you check out.
  • If you’re traveling outside the country, it’s wise to keep your passport in your room safe or the hotel’s safe while you’re seeing the sights.
  • Don’t carry every credit card you own with you. And it’s actually best to use only one credit card throughout your travels. Then if you do have a problem with your card being compromised, you only have one credit firm to contact to resolve any fraud issues.
  • Pickpockets love backpack purses and guys who carry their wallets in back pockets. Protect your valuables and your identity; don’t stow your wallet or valuables on your back side.
  • Don’t leave anything that contains personally identifiable information in carry-on luggage that you plan to stow in an overhead bin. (Think about the number of times you’ve had to leave that luggage far from your seat, or worse: gate check!) You can check out more tips related to security and carry-on luggage here.
  • When you get home, check your credit card statements carefully because no matter how careful you are, there’s always a risk. (You should do that as a standard practice anyway.) You want to identify any fraudulent charges immediately and have the card(s) cancelled. And keep in mind that thieves frequently test a card with a small purchase to see if it slips through undetected before they make a major purchase.

 

With a little preparation and a lot of common sense, you can improve the chances of protecting your identity. And that will go a long way to keeping the holidays enjoyable!