A crowded night market in Taiwan.
Whether a globetrotting adventure, dream destination or quiet beach getaway, nothing is quite as exhilarating as travel. The chance to discover new places, reconnect with our soul, or create new memories with friends and family is one of the best things in life.
Unless, of course, you’ve been the victim of identity theft. The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) reports that in 2015, there were 781 tracked data breaches in the United States, the second highest year on record since 2005. Further, according to U.S. Justice Department figures, an estimated 17.6 million Americans—about 7% of U.S. residents age 16 or older—were victims of identity theft in 2014. Unfortunately, the lasting vacation memory will likely be the painful struggle to get their identities back.
You build customer loyalty when you make recommendations that help your clients protect their digital footprint before, during and after their trip. Here are a few tips for travelers to keep their identity secure while away and ensuring their trip runs smoothly:
Many such companies now place freezes on accounts when they see suspicious activity like out-of-country use as a means to prevent fraud.
Remove any receipts and expired cards, along with anything else you don’t absolutely need to carry while traveling.
While these networks are incredibly convenient, they are often unsecure. Never access your financial accounts or any other sites that require a password when using public Wi-Fi.
Travelers are often warned of the dangers of carrying around large amounts of cash, but some merchants still practice questionable transaction processes, making cash a safer method of payment. In most cases though, using a credit card is considered safe. Still, use the card’s credit option, not debit. If your card numbers ever get into the wrong hands, most credit card companies will quickly reverse or cover fraudulent charges, while recovering funds from your drained bank account can be more complicated.
Inspect the machine carefully before inserting your card and always shield the keypad when entering your PIN to thwart fraudsters who attach card skimmers to the machine or watch your movements. The safest ATMs are attached to banks in well-lit areas.
If you’re not the type to keep a password guard on your phone, make an exception while traveling.
It’s best to catch fraud as early as possible to minimize damage and make resolution easier.
Federal law requires the three major credit bureaus to provide you with a free credit report once a year. You can stagger these free reports every four months from each bureau to see your report somewhat regularly. Make sure you recognize everything on it. If something doesn’t ring a bell, look into it.
This is especially important if you logged into any accounts while on the road or accessed an ATM.
Shred them before tossing them into the recycling bin, as they contain personally identifiable information.
by Paige Schaffer
Paige Schaffer serves as the president and chief operating officer of the Identity & Digital Protection Services Global Unit at Generali Global Assistance. Based in Generali Global Assistance’s Bethesda, MD, headquarters, Schaffer leads sales & marketing strategy and revenue growth initiatives, managing operations as well global expansion.