Protecting Your Data and Identity While on Vacation

For many Americans, taking a summer vacation is one of the highlights of their year. Whether they’re traveling domestically or internationally, many families and individuals spend their year saving money for their dream vacation destination. And when you factor in having kids who are on summer vacation, it’s often the most ideal time of the year to travel. However, thanks to modern technology that seems to improve and expand every day, there’s a far bigger risk of having your data breached while on vacation than when you’re in your home region.

According to a U.S. News and World Report survey in 2023, 73 percent of respondents have experienced identity theft, and if you’re traveling, you’re at a higher risk for theft. However, don’t let that deter you from taking an exciting and well-needed vacation. Here are a few tips on how to prevent identity theft by keeping your data and documents secure in your various travels.

Set up alerts for fraud or questionable charges.

It’s important to let your credit union know if you’re traveling overseas so they can be prepared for charges from outside your home radius. CardValet, an app that helps you manage and secure your accounts, allows you to set up real-time alerts when your account has been compromised. And if your card is stolen, you can use the app to turn “off” your card to prevent further theft. You can download CardValet from Google Play or the App Store.

Beware of hotel theft.

If you’re staying in a hotel while on vacation, take extra caution with your devices. One of the easiest ways to avoid hotel theft is to leave your devices at home, such as your laptop or tablet. However, that’s not always avoidable; there are a number of travelers who take their work with them on vacation, and if you have kids, bringing a tablet while traveling can make car and plane rides a lot easier for them. Take advantage of your in-room safe when you’re out of your hotel room – if you’re not sure if your room has one, just ask at the front desk.

Be prepared before you hit the road.

Even if you take every precaution necessary, identity theft can still happen, and it’s best to plan ahead before you leave in case of an emergency before you get home. Make copies of passports and other federal ID cards, credit/debit cards, and other personal information, and store it in a safe or with a trusted friend. Having this secured paper trail will help your financial institution assist you once you’re home.