May 1, 2014

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Keeping Your Identity Safe When You’re on the Go

If you are a frequent traveler or just constantly on the go because of your family’s busy schedule, it can be hard to keep your finances organized. Things pile up and when you do get around to tackling opening mail, filing, and organizing receipts it can become an overwhelming chore.

Ignoring your finances also leaves you open to the threat of identity theft. So what’s a busy professional to do?
Here are some tips on how to keep your finances organized and your identity safe when you’re on the go:

  • Keep it to yourself. Don’t broadcast the news that you will be out of town for any period of time across social networks. Facebook and Google aren’t the only ones watching what you do online. Cyber criminals monitor social media sites and can steal your email password. They can also hack into your email or Facebook account to send messages to your contacts saying that you have encountered troubles while away from home and to please send money. Yikes.
  • We’ll always have Paris. I once took a redeye flight to Paris and when I arrived at my hotel they ran my credit card and it was denied as it alerted the bank to “unusual activity” on my account. I was glad they were monitoring my account for fraud, but it was very inconvenient and a little bit embarrassing. Little did I know that I should have called the bank and notified them of my travel plans ahead of time to avoid this situation. Fortunately I had another card with me and they were more flexible. Now when I am planning international travel I notify my credit card companies the week before I leave.
  • Get the 411. If you are away from home and receive a call or text from a number that claims to be your bank, don’t respond by calling the phone number back. Identity thieves use this sneaky method to steal your personal information. Instead look on the back of your credit card and call the customer service number to verify that the bank is trying to reach you about suspicious activity on your account.
  • There’s no place like home. If you are going to be away from home for an extended period of time it’s safest to stop delivery of your mail and newspaper. Overflowing mailboxes and piled up newspapers are a dead giveaway that you are out of town. Thieves could steal your mail and get their hands on sensitive information like your credit card account numbers. Going paperless can help solve this problem. You can read more about that in our recent post about spring cleaning for your finances.
  • Lighten up. Of course you already know better than to carry your social security card around with you, right? It’s also a good idea to only carry what you need in your wallet when you are on the go. One or two credit cards and your ATM card is enough. For the international traveler, don’t keep your passport with you once you arrive at your destination, and don’t keep it in the same place as your credit cards during your trip.

Make sure to check out our blog post on staying organized in a digital world for tips on backing up and saving copies of your credit cards and other important documents. If you are robbed or lose your wallet you will have the copies at home or in “the cloud” so you can quickly call and report lost or stolen credit cards. For extra peace of mind consider signing up for IdentityForce’s UltraSecure+Credit. We’ll be monitoring your credit and personal information so you won’t have to worry about identity theft while you are on the go.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Ingrid Morgado.

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