Nine Identity Tips for Safe Travel
There’s nothing worse than waking up after an all-nighter to discover that you’ve not only lost your underwear, but also your identity. Even if you’re the type to sip Mai Tais by the pool and be tucked in bed once the sun goes down, everyone is susceptible to identity theft.
According to a Feb. 2013 study by Javelin Strategy & Research, identity fraud incidents increased by more than one million in 2012, with victims losing an estimated $21 billion. The good news is that companies are responding quicker to identity theft reports and enhancing their own security measures; but wouldn’t it be better to avoid this harrowing situation in the first place?
Your wallet is akin to a miniature directory of your identity. Think about it. Your driver´s license, credit card, debit card, medical insurance card and other numbers are all stored together. However, in the event of a lost wallet or stolen wallet, having all of this information in one place greatly increases your risk of identity theft. EDGE offers nine tips to remember this travel season to help safeguard against identity theft, and an action plan if you fall victim.
1. Keep a record.
If your wallet and everything in it are suddenly missing, you need to know what you’ve lost. In a personal notebook you keep in a secure place at home, write down all of the information from the front and back of your credit, debit, driver´s license, medical insurance and other important cards. Be sure to update the list as needed. This will help you make the appropriate calls following a theft.
2. Limit your cards.
What you don´t carry in your wallet is just as important as what you do carry. For preemptive protection, only carry what you need on a daily basis. If you have multiple credit cards, only carry the one you use most often. Don´t write PINs or passwords on the back of your credit or debit cards or on pieces of paper you keep in your wallet.
3. Protect your Social Security number (SSN).
Your SSN shouldn´t be on anything you regularly carry in your wallet. If any of your identification cards from a school, library or gym use your SSN as your member number, ask the organization for a randomly selected number and a new card. Be sure to shred the old one. Carry your actual Social Security card as infrequently as possible, because getting it replaced can be a hassle. If you need it to confirm your identity, be sure to return it to its safe storage place as soon as you can.