Protect your credit while traveling this summer
The summer travel season is officially here. During the summer we all like to relax and unwind while traveling with our family and friends. As you relax, don’t neglect protecting your identity too much.
Pickpockets, assailants, and identity thieves often attack travelers in unknown locations. Even if you let your hair down, it is important not to lower your guard. To protect yourself and your family, consider these tips while on vacation.
Set a budget
Before you leave, create a realistic budget. Ask yourself some questions about your upcoming expenses. Will you drive or will you fly? Will you stay with friends or will you have to pay for a hotel? How much will you spend on your entertainment expenses? Remember, once your vacation is over, reality will take over and your day-to-day bills will be staring you in the face.
Only carry the credit cards you will need and definitely leave the rest at home. Most importantly, leave your checkbook at home, as credit cards are universally accepted. Look in your wallet and be sure to remove any cards that contain confidential information. It is always a good idea to pack a debit card to withdraw money at reliable ATMs.
Avoid skipping payments
Make sure all your bills are paid while you are away. There is nothing worse than coming back from an amazing vacation and discovering a closure notice from your utility company because you forgot to pay your bill. Simply by planning ahead and setting up automatic payments through your credit union.
Refrain from social media
Resist the urge to post all your plans and photos on Facebook and Instagram. You may be giving local thieves permission to break into your home or business. Post your photos after you get home.
Protect your mail while you are away
Be sure to put your mail on hold with the US Postal Service while you are away. Go to holdmail.usps.com to begin retention. Why is it important to have your mail held? You don’t want identity thieves to steal mail from your mailbox and gain access to your confidential information such as credit card statements, checks, etc.
Protect your cash
Only carry as much cash as you are comfortable losing to a potential thief. Don’t carry all your cash in one place. Put something in your pocket, something on a money belt, and maybe even your sock.
Suspend your subscriptions
Nothing screams we’re on vacation like a pile of uncollected newspapers in the driveway. If you can’t suspend your subscriptions, ask a neighbor to pick them up while you’re gone. Again, you don’t want thieves to find out that you are not home.
Cyber Security Alert Settings
It’s a great idea to set up alerts on all your credit cards and bank statements. You will receive a text message or email each time you use your credit card, protecting you from fraudulent use.
Internet Safety Practice
While traveling within the US or abroad, always think twice before hitting internet cafes to access your financial accounts online. While most companies are legitimate and have a protected ISP, others may harbor hackers who would access your accounts and make you a victim of identity theft.
Lastly, use sunscreen
In the long term, sunscreen is less expensive than the medical treatment you may need due to excessive sun exposure. And in the short term, it can help avoid the pain of a sunburn so you can enjoy your hard-earned vacation!
For the happiest trip!