How to Prevent: Identity Theft Outside the U.S.
Travelers are easy and unsuspecting targets for identity theft. When on vacation, the last thing you have on your mind is the risk of your identity getting stolen. Yet, there are countless ways for it to happen and in fact, you are more exposed to the risk while traveling abroad. So, make sure to read each of these tips to become more informed on how to prevent identity theft while traveling abroad.
50) Keep your credit card away
To make things easy, all you have to do is make sure you do not pull out your credit card during your travels. It’s okay to bring it in case of emergencies, just don’t use it for any other reason. If you need to pay for something, your best bet is to pay in cash. This is especially true in countries with weaker economies, where there is more incentive to pull schemes like card skimming at the cash.
51) Make note of everything you bring
It’s easy to forget or lose something when you go on vacation. So, write down or take a picture of all the important cards and paperwork you are going to bring. Then, double check before you pack up to head home and once you get home to make sure it’s all still there.
52) Leave what you can at home
Many of us are guilty of having an overstuffed purse or wallet. When, in fact, there are many items that you do not have to bring for your trip. Go through everything you have and leave what you can at home. You can just put it back in your purse or wallet once you return from your trip. This will create a much smaller burden if something bad happens. For example, you have no idea how much of a headache you would experience when trying to prevent identity theft after wallet stolen or misplaced.
53) Be cautious with public Wi-Fi connections
Public Wi-Fi networks are honeypots for identity thieves and should be avoided whenever possible. At the very least, they should not be used for any online banking or other identifiable accounts. This also applies when staying at a hotel, where passwords remain the same and anyone could break into the connection to attack an unknowing guest. Further, as it’s easy to break into accounts over public connections, you might want to make a new e-mail account specifically for your travels.
54) Avoid any non-bank ATMs
If you do need to get cash from your credit card, you should avoid doing so through any non-bank ATMs. These are too easy to access and modify for fraudulence. By going to a machine at an actual bank, you will stand a much lower chance of being exposed to identity theft.
55) Protect your smartphone
Your smartphone can be a dangerous tool for an identity thief to happen upon, supposing you lose it while traveling abroad. Make sure you plan ahead by securing your phone in as many ways as possible. Back-up any sensitive files on your computer and wipe them from your phone. Make sure a complex password is used. Also, as mentioned earlier, install a tracking app to help locate your phone in case it does get lost or stolen. Some of these apps will even allow you to remotely lock or wipe your phone.
56) Be picky about hotels
There are many places you can stay while traveling, but not all of them will be safe. Some will have untrustworthy housekeeping staff. Others will have someone at the front desk looking to skim your credit card. Your best bet is to stick to the big name places, and to check on a website like TripAdvisor to make sure the place is trusted. You already know most places will ask for your credit card for security purposes, so avoid giving it up at any smaller, lesser-known places.
57) Contact your credit card provider
Before leaving for your trip, get in touch with your credit card provider. Let them know where you will be traveling and what type of spending you will do. Credit card companies watch for potential fraud transactions, and traveling abroad will raise red flags. By notifying them ahead of time, they just have to contact you if an obvious fraud transaction shows. Further, if you get a call about your credit card, make sure it is not an imposter and request to call back at their extension number.
58) Consider a virtual private network (VPN)
You do not have to be a tech nerd to understand how to set up a virtual private network or VPN. It is explained in a step-by-step guide through almost every provider. So, for the cost of around $5 per month, you can keep your network connection secure. These networks encrypt the information transmitted from your wireless device, so hackers have a much harder time targeting you. Do your own research first, but some of the better providers are ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, Boleh VPN, and IP Vanish VPN.
59) Use Tyvek sleeves
Identity thieves love committing credit fraud against unsuspecting tourists. It takes forever for them to notice the issue, and any red flags from the card provider get blamed on the foreign transactions. Yet, local identity thieves could skim your credit card information by using electronic scanners. Tyvek sleeves block out the radio frequency transfer, making it almost impossible for fraudsters to target you this way.