Identity theft can ruin a vacation and cause a lot of grief and work. This can be easily avoided by following some basic tips to secure your identity.
Keep your credit cards near you at all times.
- Be aware of your surroundings when using an ATM. Use one inside when available.
- Use hotel safes when you can't take your cards with you. Be sure only you know the combination.
- Use a credit card with embedded chip technology. The EMV (Europay MasterCard Visa) cards, or “smart cards,” as they are known, are more secure than standard magnetic-stripe cards.
- Do not use your credit card number on public computers. If you have to do this, be sure it's a secure site and your information is removed prior to leaving the computer.
- When using your credit card to pay, watch the transaction completely through. Be sure no one is writing down your number or taking a picture of your card.
- Never give your number to anyone over the phone, even the hotel staff. If someone at the hotel requests this, walk down to the front desk to confirm the reason for the request and the validity of it.
Sometimes you do everything you can and still become a victim of identity theft. If this happens while you’re traveling, act immediately to minimize damage. If you've purchased travel insurance, you may have help, so check your policy before traveling to know what steps to take. Otherwise, contact your credit card company to cancel the card(s) and notify the credit reporting agencies immediately. Each has its own requirements for reporting this activity. To learn more about how to report identity theft, visit the U.S. Department of Justice's Identity Theft Task Force (ITTF) at http://www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/websites/idtheft.html
Erma Crock, PMP
Account Executive Nationwide Specialty Health. A member of UStiA through Nationwide Insurance and Co-Chair of the TRIP Advocacy Committee. Fourteen years experience in health and specialty products, including travel insurance.