A favorite holiday tradition is visiting family while on the road. But we must be careful not to reveal our identities to everyone as we go about spreading holiday cheer. Holiday travel fraud is here and there are some things you should do to prepare.

Because of all the holiday commotion, gift givers, shoppers, and travelers can be a treasure trove for identity thieves who know you might be letting your guard down. If you’re anything like me, you struggle to stay within your budget; however, don’t give the bad guys access to every aspect of your life and finances.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before you crack open the eggnog!

  • Put your mail on hold; arrange to have all important documents delivered electronically. Additionally, contact the post office to have your mail held.
  • Social media: This one is hard!  We all want to share our fun with the world, naturally.  You also tell the world when you are not at home and how long you will be gone.
  • Check your credit cards and bank accounts. Keep track of the charges and amounts on your accounts and credit cards. You can also set up alerts to let you know when certain spending or account limits are met.
  • Clean out our wallet:  Remove all but the necessary forms of payment from our wallet. It is simpler to remember which cards you have and quicker to limit your exposure if your purse or wallet is stolen.
  • Public WiFi:  open access WiFi is never a good idea, period.  Open WiFi while on vacation is a bad idea because it is exactly the environment the bad guys are looking to exploit.  We strongly suggest using a VPN while on any network that is not yours! Read more here: Public WiFi is Putting You at Risk
  • Use hotel safes: Place anything that has personal information on it that you don’t need in the room safe. This way, it isn’t on your person and reduces the risk of it being lost.
  • Protect your phone: It seems like we should not have to say this, but if you do not have a password or biometrics on your phone, set them up before you go.

We can’t guarantee that doing this will stop identity theft while traveling or at other times. However, we can affirm that these are always excellent habits to adopt. Do what you can to lessen your chances of experiencing identity theft while traveling for the holidays.

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