Keeping Your Identity Secure on Vacation

Vacations are a time for rest and relaxation. Just don’t let your guard down completely, or an identity thief could get a hold of your information while you’re away. The headaches and frustration involved in clearing your name and credit reports quickly would wipe away any restorative benefits of your time off.

Tourists are especially vulnerable to ID theft. It takes only one moment of distraction—leaving something important behind at a restaurant or hotel—to entice a thief into funding his own getaway on your dime. However, there are ways to protect yourself and your family as you travel.

If you’re going to be away for a little while, take these steps to ensure your fiscal safety:

  • Secure your mail. Make sure your mail doesn’t stay in your mailbox for others to steal. Ask a neighbor to collect it for you or have it held at the post office until you return. Keep unsolicited credit offers from being sent to your address. You can find out how at sites like
  • Take only the essentials. Leave the checkbook and wallet full of credit cards locked in your home safe. Your driver's license, a gas card and one or two credit/debit cards is all you should have on you. Should you happen to lose any of these while on the road, contact the necessary banking authorities and companies immediately.
  • Save everything. Hang on to every receipt and keep them together. When your credit statements from your trip arrive, compare all the purchases to make sure there are no surprises. Shred everything once your purchases are reconciled.
  • Watch when you surf. If you use free wireless anywhere—a café, a hotel or other hotspot—limit where you browse. Don't make any online purchases or check financial accounts online. The less private information you relay, the better. Be sure your laptop’s personal firewall, anti-spam, anti-virus and anti-spyware are updated and running.
  • Keep your guard up. Remember that your smartphone, BlackBerry and laptop are more than just ways to get email and surf the web. Don’t share them with others, especially strangers.
  • Watch for suspicious activity. Check your statements and online accounts frequently. You can take a few days off from this while you’re on vacation, but be sure to catch up when you get home. Let your financial institution know immediately if anything is out of the ordinary.

Stay vigilant on vacation, especially when you shop, and keep your identity protected so you can enjoy your break.

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