Tips for Protecting Your Identity While Traveling This Summer

 The heat is on, and you may be hitting the road for summertime fund to an exotic vacation destination.  Whether your definition of an exotic trip means travel to Weeki Wachee Springs, Graceland, or Traverse City here are a few practical tips for protecting yourself from identity theft while away.

Avoid Virtual Danger

  • Secure Electronic Devices.  Computers, tablets and smartphones may contain large amounts of private data.  Keep a close eye on electronic devices.  These are easy targets for identity thieves.          Note:  According to Credent Technologies, a data protection company, 11,000 mobile devices were lost at the busiest U.S. airports in 2011.  Over 75% of those were taptops, tablets or smartphones.
  • Password Protect Devices:  Make sure all devices are password protected and that any sensitive data is encrypted.
  • Be Wary of Unsecured, Public Wireless Networks:  Hackers can use unsecured networks to easily access your computer.  Be sure to update anti-virus software.
  • Alert Your Bank:  Let your bank and credit card companies know when and where you will be traveling.  Financial institutions have become more vigilant about monitoring accounts for unusual activity.  Alerting your bank to your travel plans will prevent them from freezing your account while you are away from home and help them monitor for unauthorized transactions in other locations.

When on the Road

  • Use Hotel Safes:  Don’t leave personal information out in your hotel room.  Keep credit cards and documents containing personal information and electronic devices in a hotel safe or with you.
  • Take Mailbox Measure:  Don’t let mail pile up in your home mailbox.  Arrange for someone you trust to pick up your mail while you are away, or have the postal service hold your mail while you are gone. 
  • Clean Out Your Wallet:  Tourist destinations are often frequented by pickpockets.  Before you head out the door, take any unneeded credit cards or personal information out of your wallet.  Do not keep your social security card in your wallet.

The Center team wishes you safe travel this summer!

Information provided by:  Raymond James Operational Risk & Privacy Office and the Information Security Office.