This is part two of our four-part series on travel safety. Yesterday we covered “Planning Your Trip” and in the next few days we’ll discuss “On the Road” and “When You Return”. For today, we’ll look at steps to take after your trip is planned, but before you go.
Photocopy the contents of your wallet/documents: Or make a list of all the contents and all your travel documents to carry with you in a protected place as you travel. It’s also a good idea to leave a copy at home with a trustworthy person whom you can contact. It will save you hours of frustration if anything is lost or stolen.
Protect your accounts: Place a travel alert on your credit card accounts so the bank will know why charges from some lovely resort are suddenly showing up. You can also freeze your credit so no new accounts can be opened while you are away. Finally, turn on automatic account alerts on your credit card to easily monitor all transaction (via smartphone) without having to look at statements.
Hold the Mail: Your mailbox is an identity jackpot. Before you leave, place a “postal hold” on your mail so that your mailbox isn’t susceptible while you are gone. Arrange with your post office that you (or your spouse) are the only people allowed to pick up your mail. Don’t have it “mass-delivered” the day after you return, as this puts everything at risk all at once. Instead, pick it up at the post office once you return. (Hold your newspaper, too, so you’re not publicizing that no one is home.)
Social Networking Sites: Don’t post your “Going on Vacation” status on your social networking sites just as you wouldn’t tack a note about it to your front door. Broadcasting this news opens the door to criminals using that information while you are away. Think twice about anything you share on social networking sites.
Secure your home: Of course you will lock all your doors and secure your windows, but make sure you also check your office and other places where you might have identity-rich information sitting around. Store all important documents and items, maybe even your external hard drive with all of your files backed up on it, in a locked safe.
John Sileo is an an award-winning author and keynote speaker on identity theft, internet privacy, fraud training & technology defense. John specializes in making security entertaining, so that it works. John is CEO of The Sileo Group, whose clients include the Pentagon, Visa, Homeland Security & Pfizer. John’s body of work includes appearances on 60 Minutes, Rachael Ray, Anderson Cooper & Fox Business. Contact him directly on 800.258.8076.