Gap Year Travelling – Be Careful Of Identity Theft
Thursday 20th December 2012
Many gap year travellers don’t concern themselves with the thought that identity theft may occur to them when they are travelling but it is a very real threat that they need to be aware of.
This is because when you are travelling you will be carrying about a lot of personal information and be in unfamiliar surroundings so the likelihood of you getting distracted or misplacing information is increased.
There are a number of ways that you can reduce the chances of identity theft happening to you and below we give you 10 ways to ensure the safety of your personal data on a gap year.
1. Clean out your wallet/purse before you travel
Before you travel you should give your wallet or purse a good clean out. By doing this activity you can remove all the unused credit/debit cards as well as unnecessary personal information that is contained within it. Therefore, if your wallet or purse is stolen it should be easier to know what information was in it and hopefully you will have minimised the number of companies to call should it disappear.
2. Make copies of important document
You should make copies of important documents such as your passport, driver’s license and insurance documentation. As well as retaining a copy for yourself should these documents be stolen or lost you should also give a copy to a family member who can send you the documents should you need them.
3. Let your bank and credit card company know you are travelling
Before you leave for your gap year adventure it is important to let your bank and credit card company know your plans. This will help the fraud department as you can tell them where you are going and for how long. They can then monitor your card and see whether any fraudulent activities are taking place as well as reducing the chances that they freeze your credit card due to any perceived unusual activity.
4. Don’t use public Wi-Fi for secure transactions
When you are abroad you should be wary about the computers that you use and be cautious regarding the use of public Wi-Fi. This is because fraud can easily take place over public Wi-Fi as often the connection across the network is unsecure. It is therefore recommended that sensitive or secure transactions should not be completed in this way.
5. Use safer ATMs when travelling
When you need to take money out on your travels you should be wary about the ATM that you use. You should consider using ATMs that are in bank lobbies for example as they will be less vulnerable to being tampered with by criminals.
6. Don’t leave personal information lying around
Make sure that you always carry personal information and debit/credit cards with you and don’t leave them in your hotel room. This is to ensure that fraudsters can’t easily find your information.
7. Have backup
You should consider using a backup service for your smart phone or tablet as this will ensure your information should it be lost or stolen.
8. Install relevant security software
The savvy traveller always has their smart phone with them but you should ensure that you treat your smart phone like a home computer and install relevant security software and antivirus software against security threats.
9. Check your accounts regularly
If possible you should check your accounts regularly to ensure that there is no suspicious activity taking place on it. Some banks will text you to let you know when you have undertaken a transaction on your account and it would be worthwhile signing up to this service to monitor your accounts.
10. Be vigilant once you are back home
When you return home from your travels you still need to be vigilant because identity fraud thieves are known for their patience and they have been known to take up to a year before they steal your details.