Protect Yourself from Identity Theft While Traveling

Traveling is a very fun thing to do.  However one thing that is essential to keep in mind when you are traveling is that people who want to steal other people’s identities are everywhere.  Just because you are on vacation does not mean that you do not still have to be careful and watch out for those who want to take your identity.
One thing that you should always do prior to traveling is to let your credit card companies know when you will be going, where you will be going, and when you will be back.  You should also provide them with an alternative number such as your cell phone in the event they need to get ahold of you while you are gone.  Credit card companies are getting great at detecting fraud.  However if you are out of town and they want to call you to verify charges and they leave a message on your home phone, and you do not call back they may end up freezing your account.  This would be a big inconvenience if you are out of town and suddenly your credit card does not work. 
If you get a voice mail or email claiming to be your bank, do not assume that they are from your bank and call the number that they provide.  This is a scam that is becoming more and more popular.  Instead of calling the number that was provided to you in the email or voicemail, call the number for your bank that you already have. Explain to them that you were contacted by someone claiming to be from your bank.  One of two things will happen, the bank will let you know that it was not from them or they will let you know that it was and they will transfer you to the person you need to talk to.
Before leaving town, you need to figure out what you will have done with your mail.  Have a neighbor that you trust pick it up for you every day and hold on to it for you. Another option would be to let your post office know you will be leaving town and have them stop your mail.  When you get back to town you can go pick up your mail and let them know that you are back and they can continue to deliver again.  The reason that this is so important is that criminals can get a lot of information out of your mail.  Things such as bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and personal information can all be found in your mailbox. 
Go through your wallet and take out any extra credit cards that you do not need. Many popular tourist destinations are also popular places for people who pick people’s pockets.  If you take out all the things you do not need in your wallet it gives them less that they will be able to get from you.
When traveling always be aware of your surroundings.  Know where your things are at all times, and keep them in your sight no matter what you are doing.  These day people will do anything they can to take someone’s identity, you have to be one step ahead of them to keep it from happening to you.

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