6 Ways For RVers To Avoid Identity Theft While Traveling And Be Safe Rather Than Sorry
There have been numerous in the past and the recent past about people losing their identities or suffering huge financial losses as a result of losing crucial documents, secret codes, and credential details to imposters, thieves, and hackers. While it may appear rare and random, you are more at risk of being another victim when travelling or on a road trip. To help you be safe rather than sorry after your trip, here are some 6 assuring ways to avoid identity theft while traveling.
1. Take Care of Your Crucial Documents
One of the most common ways people steal the identities of others is through getting unauthorized access to their critical documents. While it might appear rare, it can easily happen during traveling. Talking of critical documents, these may include papers or plastics such as health insurance card, bank transaction slips and statements, ID card, social security card, credit cards and such. Before you leave home for your trip, be sure to unpack them and carry them in a secure safe or wallet. If you intend to go to or pass through congested areas, there are some chances of being pick-pocketed, so be sure to confirm that you still have them intact during your travel. Once you get to your destination and book a hotel room, confirm again that you still have them and keep them secure in a safe or under reliable watch.
2. Take Extreme Caution When Using Shared Internet Connections
Some ID thefts occur online, especially when using unsecured connections. Take heed that there is a risk of exposing yourself to experienced online hackers who can get some of your essential details when connecting from shared unsecured internet connections. It is common not to find secured internet connection modes when travelling, but if you direly need to log in to your bank account or do transactions online, you have to be extremely careful. Here are some things you can do.
Use Https Links: It is always advisable that you prepare yourself for a secure trip and your laptop to use it in accessing the internet using Wi-Fi. Even in such a case, always try entering the website starting with https:// (where 's' means secure) when accessing sensitive websites instead of the usual http:// links.
Delete Browsing History: If you have to use a public PC or shared connection, be sure to wipe all browsing before ending your session. Especially for some sites such as Linkedin and facebook that may leave you logged even after closing the internet browser, be sure to erase the history and cache before leaving the machine.
3. Watch the ATM Machines You Use
Especially for the earlier magnetic stripe type of debit and credit cards before the existence of chip cards, skimmers use to install hacking systems in ATM machines to copy information from user’s ATM and later access funds from their bank accounts. Even with today’s chip card technology that is said to be highly secure, you can never tell for sure where the identity thieves are with their game. Get cash only from reputable bank ATM machines or use plastic money instead if you can. Also, use your credit card to pay only at reputable places, since POS machines are also known to be prone to fraud.
4. Keep Your Cell Phone Secure
Another common way identity theft occurs is through cell phones. Especially nowadays since the telecoms industry is highly competitive and data plans have become more affordable, it is highly likely that your phone contains apps that stay logged in most of the time. Some of these can become the cause of ID theft in case you happen to lose your phone and it falls into the wrong hands. To keep your mobile phone secure:
• Erase sensitive data that you can reinstall once you get back from your trip • Set a secret password or unique pattern before travelling • Log out of apps you can’t delete • Avoid un-trusted networks and websites when surfing the internet from your phone
5. Keep Tabs with Your Crucial Details During and After the Trip
Sometimes you may be too busy to even look at your credit card or bank account statement. However, this should not be the case when travelling to and from your destination. Stay suspicious and alert with your financial statements, confirm your records at least before, during and after your trip to see if there’s any suspicious activity. Notify the respective institution immediately in case you find any. Changing your crucial account and website passwords before or after you travel might even be a better idea.
6. Don’t Be Too Nervous!
It might not occur to most people, but sometimes we attract attention from wrong-doers, just because we appear too nervous. Once you adhere to the above precautions and ways to avoid identity theft while traveling, be confident, travel safe, and have fun during your trip like there’s nothing to worry about.
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