Tips to keep your data secure when you’re away from home
It’s become, unfortunately, relatively commonplace: News of hackers stealing data from a big company. Data breach stories are a sign of the times.
And, it’s not just the multi-billion-dollar banks and retailers that the hackers prey upon. Through our own activities, we can sometimes unwittingly give identity thieves an “in” to get sensitive data. This is especially true when we travel—when we’re out of our comfort zone, away from our routine, and frequenting places like hotels and airports.
Our friends at Experian offer the following tips to help protect your identity before, during and after you travel.
- Before you leave home—Make sure your home and belongings are secure. Stop newspaper and mail delivery so that accumulating paper doesn’t signal you’re not home, and to make sure nothing can be stolen from your mailbox. Put lights on timers so it looks like you’re home in the evenings. Set your alarm and make sure a trusted neighbor knows where you are and how to contact you in case of emergency.
- On the road—Carry only the identification materials you need. For example, while you’ll need a passport to travel abroad, it’s not necessary for domestic travel. And, your Social Security card never needs to travel with you; it should always be secured in a strong box, safe, or safety deposit box. Likewise, only carry the one or two credit cards you’ll need for your trip.
- At the hotel—Take advantage of hotel safes to store important documents, jewelry and cash. Don’t access any personal, social media or financial accounts over the hotel’s unsecured WiFi network, and never post on social media exactly where you are when you travel.
- When you get home—Review your financial accounts, including bank and credit card statements, and keep an eye on your credit report. Signs of fraud and identity theft often first show up on your credit report and financial statements.
A final tip—consider identity theft protection. Progressive’s program, offered through ProtectMyID®—a part of Experian—offers powerful protection for as little as $9.95 a month.
Wherever you go, and whatever you do, taking a few simple steps can help you keep your identity secure.